YORKSHIRE ASSOCIATION graduates and students posted a damning verdict on the Institution after the motion 'The ICE is a redundant organisation offering no benefit to its members or a modern society' was carried by a sweeping majority in its winter debate last month.
As a stark reminder of the work to by done by the ICE in the regions, the audience voted 50 to 25 in favour of the motion, proposed by North Western association past chairman Rob Jackson and Leicester City Council assistant director of business services Jackie Edwards.
The audience was clearly unconvinced by the case made by ICE duo, communications and regional operations director Julien Parrott and professional development director Jon Prichard. The final vote gave less support for the ICE than the pre-debate vote, which went 40 to 33 for the motion.
Despite the verdict, Parrott remained upbeat and said he was under no illusions that graduates and students thought that current ICE reforms were complete.
'It was a valuable opportunity to put across some of the things that the ICE has been up to, and the feedback was excellent, ' said Parrott. 'I commend the G&S committee on their industry, and only wish more associations would take this on.'
Jackson opened the debate at Royal Armouries in Leeds by likening the ICE to a Victorian wardrobe - old, classic and stately but cumbersome, tired and out of date.
'What would happen if the Institution disappeared tomorrow?' he asked, before arguing that the even though the ICE has no European equivalent, engineers in the EU have much higher social status than their UK counterparts. In the UK, Jackson argued, engineers are perceived as backroom staff, to be run by managers.
Solicitors are licensed by means of a practising certificate renewed annually; the British Medical Association protects its members and has a trade union role; the ICE exists to better the profession by improving its members and yet still has no mandatory continuing professional development, Jackson argued.
Parrot and Pritchard's response centred around the assurance that Great George Street is making changes. 'The ICE is the world premier civil engineering institution, and changes have already been made, ' Parrott argued.