From delegated engineer to supervising civil engineer, Gavin Hunt explains why becoming an ICE reviewer was a natural next step.
I felt inspired to become a reviewer for the ICE having thoroughly enjoyed the people development side of my career as a bridge design engineer.
I saw being a reviewer as a natural extension of this, continuing on from acting as a delegated engineer, then a supervising civil engineer.
Having worked with young engineers to prepare them for their Professional Review, I thought, why not use what I’d learnt to assess others at this key milestone?
Other reviewers I’ve spoken to have typically come from a similar place, citing a combination of giving back to the industry, coupled with the personal satisfaction of what can be gained from it.
I’ve enhanced my knowledge across the industry
I can honestly say that every candidate I’ve reviewed has opened my eyes to something new and fascinating.
Be that another area of the industry, ways of working on a mega project in another part of the world, a clever or novel element of design, the list goes on.
Through digesting the written report before review, I’ll often come across something that prompts some research of my own, to catch up on what the candidate hopefully knows but I didn't:
- What’s the health and safety legislation in Jersey?
- How common are typhoons in Hong Kong and what is the tidal range in Kowloon Bay?
- How do various elements of a sewage treatment plant work?
It can be the highlight of my working week to learn from a candidate's exploration of such topics.
This to me is the best part of the role, something I’m sure every reviewer can relate to.
It’s a small world
While the breadth of subject matter and global coverage can be expansive, on the other hand, being a reviewer highlights the oft-repeated fact that our industry can be a small world.
I’ve needed to decline reviews due to a conflict of interests, while often seeing references to names, projects and companies that I’ve had at least a passing acquaintance within my career.
I’ve become a better engineer
I’m confident I’ve become a better engineer through the exposure I’ve had through reviewing.
I firmly believe that to be an engineer is to be a polymath, continuously interested in learning more and able to apply the knowledge and principles from one area to another.
Learning from mistakes
In a similar vein, my knowledge has often benefitted from the learning points of a particular challenge faced by the candidate, or where something went wrong.
A good candidate will be candid and have valuable points to discuss in these instances.
It can be dull and not a little suspicious when a project is reported as having gone perfectly!
After all, engineering, being innovative and pushing the boundaries, will inevitably be dealing with new situations.
Looking to the future
As reviewers, we have a great responsibility to the industry and wider society.
We assure and uphold standards and represent the next generation.
It’s clear that in 20 years’ time, the industry won’t look like it did 20 years ago.
Rightly so, reflecting, as it should, the concerns of wider society, which are constantly changing.
There’s the obligation therefore to keep up with society’s changes and judge the next generation on the concerns of their future, not of our past.
It’s a privilege
I recommend the role to all.
Ultimately, it’s a tremendous privilege to be part of someone’s key career milestones.
And to future candidates – we're people too, who once sat where you will be, and one day will be replaced by you.
Recognise the things you know that most other professionals won’t and enjoy the day!