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Stars in the making

If you finished a civils degree last summer, you now have a chance to win £1,000 as NCE launches its annual Graduate Awards, says awards secretary David Hayward.

Half a dozen special visitors to NCE's Civils 2005 exhibition in November are guaranteed to end the day a bit richer - and with their CVs considerably boosted. For they will be the six finalists in NCE's coveted Graduate Awards, launched this week and now offering increased prize money totalling over £2,700.

This year, the awards ceremony - where for the first time all our finalists will receive cash prizes as well as significant industry recognition - is being held at Civils 2005 at London Olympia.

So if you, or someone you work with, graduated last year with a civil engineering or related degree, pay attention. A little effort now to fill in an entry form could generate a shedload of benefits before the end of this year. And it won't cost you a penny. NCE will pay the expenses of all shortlisted candidates.

Prime aim of the Graduate Awards, now in their ninth year, is to seek out and recognise the best all-round new engineers.

Currently enjoying their first postgraduate jobs, these young engineers should be full of enthusiasm, ideas and motivation. It is these skills, as much as academic success at university, that NCE wants to hear about.

More than a dozen of the industry's top companies, as well as the Institution of Civil Engineers, have teamed up with NCE this year to sponsor the awards. All are actively involved in encouraging and nurturing the profession's future talent, and each is putting forward a senior manager to help judge the entrants.

What you have to do is get an entry form by calling or emailing the magazine, or by downloading one from NCE's website. Use it to tell us what you have achieved at university and at work.

Debate, briefly, how you think civil engineers can, or should, be helping to alleviate world poverty - we think that should get most of you fairly fired up. And leave the rest to us.

The top half dozen entrants will be invited to meet judges at the ICE in October. If that sounds a bit daunting, don't worry. We have yet to meet a finalist who didn't find it - admittedly in hindsight - an exciting and informative experience.

At this stage you are already heading for the final at Civils 2005 in London. Here you could win the top £1,000 prize, one of two £500 runners' up cheques or receive £250 for being highly commended.

Last year's winner, Lucy Penman, found herself meeting up with the construction minister and then being singled out by her company, Taylor Woodrow Construction, to attend a top, nationally run 'Young Stars' management course. 'It certainly raised my profile with my employer, ' she says (see Working Lives, page 46).

And the employers of all those shortlisted can feel justly proud of the young engineers making the finalists list. So if there are any 2004 graduates in your company, encourage them to enter now.

If you are part of the class of 2004, are passionate about civil engineering, proud of your career so far and fancy your chances of winning £1,000, get hold of an entry form now. You have nearly two months to complete it - the closing date is 5 September.

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