RUSSIAN MEMBERSHIP of the Institution has swelled dramatically following the first ever overseas reviews to be carried in the native tongue.
In a move that will now be repeated in China and the Far East, professional reviews conducted in Russian in Moscow and Siberia last October and November saw 67 out of 75 candidates successfully meet the grade.
Seventeen candidates even qualified for direct entry as Fellow at the presentation ceremonies, held earlier this month.
The high standard reflected the seniority of many of the candidates. Ages ranged from 31 to 69, with the majority of candidates over 45.
Many of the successful candidates are senior figures in Russian industry for whom ICE membership is a vital step, as the country begins to open up for international investment.
Major banking, land and tax reforms are being pushed through, and Russian firms are seeking to expand overseas through membership of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). However, membership of the WTO is conditional on firms offering a workforce qualified to an internationally recognised standard, such as ICE.
'Their interests are purely commercial, ' explained ICE international director John Beck. 'In the 10 years since Perestroika there has been virtually no infrastructure investment.'
With the planned reforms this may soon change, explained Beck, and engineers will need accreditation.
With the influx of native Russian members, the Institution now has around 500 members based in the country. The ICE hopes to raise this to 800 by the end of the year, which will begin to repay some of the outlay.
'Last year we invested £40,000 in Russia and got £30,000 back.
This year we hope to get £60,000 back, and by 2003 Russia should pay for itself, ' said Beck.