A DELEGATON of Russian construction managers has spent the last few weeks in the UK as part of a management training initiative with the Russian Society of Civil Engineers.
The initiative has been arranged by the British Council with DFID funding, and is intended to foster closer commercial ties between British and Russian companies, as well as providing essential support to middle and senior Russian managers committed to developing Russia's enterprise sector.
The delegates started with one week at Wolverhampton Business School, following a basic business management plan - a plan that the delegates found to be a little too basic according to Alexei Vovchenko, finance and investment director in Rostov-on-Don.
The delegates then moved to London for two weeks where the ICE's training arm, Thomas Telford, arranged a series of lectures and site visits, including a trip to Canary Wharf and the Cardiff Bay development.
Mara Oznobishina, an economist for local government in Yekaterinburg, was particularly struck by the attention given to health and safety on site.
The delegates were all impressed by the plant used on site, but as Oznobishina explains: 'In Russia there is no money - you can't pay people enough. You certainly can't use good machines.'
This visit builds on ICE President George Fleming's visit to Russia this summer, where the consolidation of links with the Russian Society of Civil Engineers was a top priority.
The ICE now has nearly 400 Russian members at various grades, and this is set to grow rapidly with proposed new tendering rules in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Under the plans it will be compulsory for firms tendering for government work to employ qualified civil engineers, and MICE is set to become the qualification standard.
These plans, the importance of standards and the value of MICE were the main topics of discussion during the week-long visit to Moscow and St Petersburg.
People visited in Moscow included the Head of Strategic Investment in city construction, Leonid Krasnyansky, ICE members at construction firm Mospromstry and the rector of the Moscow Automobile & Road University, which is soon to be visited by the Joint Board of Moderators.