INTEGRATING ICE and Institution of Mechanical Engineers activities at graduate and student level is key to the success of the possible future merger of the two institutions, said head of the ICE Graduates & Students National Committee (GSNC) last week.
GSNC chairman Phil HardyBishop was speaking after last week's Council meeting, at which the results of the merger consultation were discussed.
Only 11.6% of the ICE membership and 7% of graduates took part in the consultation. Graduates accounted for 21% of the meagre response to the consultation.
Lack of discussion before the consultation about what the ICE and IMechE would gain from a merger led to the apathetic response, said Hardy-Bishop.
'At the moment the gut feeling is that people need more information to make a decision - you've got to tell people what's in it for them [to get a better response], ' he said.
'What we want is a stronger voice for the engineering profession. The more institutions which get together, the more say we'll have in society. I see this as the only way to really influence government.' But he added that issues relating to any merger were not currently at the top of the GSNC's agenda as it was tackling regionalisation first.
'It's going to be a slow process because neither institution will want to distract resources from their own goals, ' he said.
He believes that the quick wins will be to see which processes can be integrated across the two institutions, such as collecting subscriptions and accrediting university courses.
The is planning to work more closely with its equivalent at the IMechE, the Young Members Board (YMB), to raise members' awareness of issues relating to the merger.
'There's lots we can learn from each other: They still need to learn about how to take forward the issue of voting rights as they have no representation on the IMechE trustees board, ' Hardy-Bishop said.
ICE graduate members have two representatives on Council who serve for three year periods, but Hardy-Bishop is hoping to gain another seat to have a stronger presence.
Nobody from the YMB could be contacted as NCE went to press.