Civils 2002 is not just another trade show. It is an industry event - and a chance to gain valuable points CPD experience.
Ask most civil engineers for their views on continuing professional development (CPD) and you may well get a cool response. Boring, expensive, time consuming, irrelevant and hard to understand are common complaints, with many engineers admitting they only take part in order to get chartered and improve their wage prospects.
But it doesn't have to be that way. 'The reason CPD is seen as such an onerous burden is that most people simply don't realise when they are doing it, ' says ICE professional development manager Niall O'Hea, who will use his seminar at Civils 2002 to demonstrate that engineers are often involved in CPD related activities without realising it. 'CPD can be anything you want it to be.
It could even be art, ' he says, citing the example of Connell Mott MacDonald engineers who are using life drawing classes to hone their drawing skills.
Gaining chartered status is constantly in the thoughts of young engineers, but finding the time to undertake specialist courses causes a real headache. Fully understanding just how, when and where extra CPD points can be earned can save graduate engineers years of scratching around boring meetings.
Civils 2002 offers the chance for the industry to take advantage of face to face contact with the ICE's professional development team. Guidance will be freely available in a CPD surgery, as well as advice on planning and monitoring development.
Even turning up to Birmingham's NEC and watching videos can make a difference. A plasma screen erected on the exterior of the ICE stand will show CPD videos throughout the three-day event.
Although you may usually get scolded for surfing the internet on company time, at Civils 2002 the ICE stand will have free internet access for its own site and its own free electronic weekly newsletter.
However, if all this fails to persuade you that CPD is actually positive and valuable, you can always watch the ICE's professional development team square up to the rest of the industry in the RedR Challenge.
Back on the ICE stand, there is a rare opportunity to quiz those involved in allocating your subs and developing the profession.
Engineers can also make the most of a rare opportunity to attend an ICE Council meeting.
This will be held at 2pm in the Griffin Suite on Tuesday 11 June and provide the chance to see the cogs of the institution in motion.
The ICE stand is at 12 D150.
ICE professional development manager Niall O'Hea will be delivering his CPD seminar at 10.30am on Tuesday 11 June.