A DELEGATION of Russian construction managers spent a few weeks in the UK recently as part of a management training initiative with the Russian Society of Civil Engineers.
The initiative was 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 first followed a week-long basic business management plan at Wolverhampton Business School - 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 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 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 Moscow and St Peterburg this summer, where the consolidation of links with the Russian Society was a top priority.
Main topic of discussion during the President's week-long visit were the proposed new tendering rules under which it will be compulsory for firms bidding for government work to employ qualified civil engineers. MICE is set to become the qualification standard which will boost the number of ICE members in Russia from its current level of 400.
In Moscow, the party met 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, soon to be visited by the Joint Board of Moderators.