Jean Venables visited the West Midlands on 25th November and spent a highly productive day which started when she met Charlotte Owen, from Mouchel in Shrewsbury on of ICE's first QUEST Technician Award Winners.
Charlotte, who is just starting out on her civil engineering career, and the former President shared their experiences and both gained much from the discussion.
Jean went on to host a special Fellows' event at City Inn, where she outlined the benefits of Fellowship, dispelled some myths about the Fellowship application process and encouraged an invited audience of 'would be' Fellows to make their applications. During the session Jean referred to a series of lunch time networking meetings specifically for Fellows and prospective Fellows which would be launched in January. If you are interested in being added to the mailing list for these events please contact Jane Young.
The former President's then moved on to deliver a as keynote speech at a packed evening meeting - 'Training & Development of Civil Engineers - why bother?' She outlined why training and development of civil engineers is so important and how it can be managed by each individual engineer for their own benefit and that of their organisation.
Jean posed the question 'when we come out of the recession, will there be enough talented engineers to fill the gap?' Her key message was that we need to keep a fully skilled workforce to meet future demand.
Jean shared a platform with Phil Santos, GSNET Chair, Ed Gardiner, Contract Manager from Carillion and Martin Nicholds, HR Director from Amey who outlined details of their own organisations' commitment to training and development.
Ed emphasised the importance of mentoring in Carillion and the fact that professional development was 'strongly supported by the management team.'
Martin's advice to Civil Engineers was that 'the best thing you can do in a recession is to invest in yourselves.'
Jean's visit was a resounding success for the region as, during her busy schedule, she managed to meet representatives from all membership grades and gain some excellent feedback from West Midlands members about training and development issues.