Skip to content
ICE Community blog

If I had my time again, I’d have applied to join Council as a graduate  

17 March 2021

Gary Cutts, ICE Trustee for Member Engagement, explains how being on Council has enhanced his career.

If I had my time again, I’d have applied to join Council as a graduate  
Gary Cutts, ICE Fellow and Trustee Board and Council member.

When I chat to my colleagues about my work with ICE, I’m often asked ‘Why did you join ICE Council?’, and 'What do you get out it?’

My association with ICE goes all the way back to the start of my career when I first joined ICE as a graduate member.

I’m now a Fellow of the Institution and also a Trustee Board and Council member. I have been actively engaged throughout my membership with my local City Club in Truro, and the South West Regional Committee. I found being able to shape local initiatives that affect the future of the industry hugely rewarding and was keen to get further involved with the Institution.

I was elected to Council in 2015 as Regional Council member for the South West. Being able to represent my region at national level was an opportunity I jumped at, as was the chance to discuss and debate issues in relation to civil engineering, the Institution and society, with my peers.

Being elected to Council was an honour but was not without trepidation. I was concerned that, being the ‘new person’, it would be a challenge to keep up with the ongoing discussions around the Institution.

But I needn’t have worried - my concerns were quickly allayed following an induction session, and the offer of a mentor. Mentors are usually someone who has already served on Council for a while and mine was very helpful as I began my term. Having a mentor provided me with a personal contact and helped answer any questions I had, but most importantly they personally introduced me to many of the Council members during my first session.

My role on Council

My role as a UK regional member means that, in addition to sitting on Council, I sit on the UK Regional Affairs Committee (UKRAC).

Regional members have a slightly different role to play than other Council members, as they are there to represent the views of the regional committees to Council. The Regional member role is ideal for me, as it gives me the great opportunity to get involved with the big issues affecting civil engineering and the Institution, while retaining my links and involvement with the regional committee.

What do I get out of the experience?

The last six years on Council have taught me a lot about many aspects of the Institution that I hadn’t previously been involved with or known about. Governance, in particular is something I’ve learned a lot about, and this has been very helpful in managing projects and organisations over the years.

Being on Council has helped me learn about different aspects of the industry that I wouldn’t have been exposed to in my job and I’ve often thought to myself, if I could go back in time, I would definitely look to join the ICE Council as a graduate member. I think this would have provided me with invaluable early exposure to many different aspects of civil engineering management.

And the knowledge and experience I’ve picked up have provided me with some great CPD over the years, which have often been beneficial during project delivery, to both myself and my employer. These insights have provided me with a breadth and depth of understanding of some topics that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

The networking opportunities have also been brilliant. I’ve been able to mix and talk with some of the leading figures in our industry, working alongside them on Council. I doubt I would have met so many influential people within civil engineering, had I not served on Council. A particular highlight was having a conversation with Past President Sir John Armitt about his work at the National Infrastructure Commission.

Having a say on the big issues

Being involved with Council has allowed me to voice my opinions on the biggest challenges that the Institution has faced during the last six years. Matters such as moving to the new Trustee Structure for improved governance of the Institution, the debate on voting rights for graduates and the need for the membership to maintain up-to-date skills and competencies in a rapidly changing industry landscape.

The evolving professional skills profile and competency issue is a topic I’m particularly passionate about, and my involvement on Council has provided me with the opportunity to get involved with initiatives in this area, such as the production of the ICE Professional Skills Review and other working groups and panels.

I have found serving on Council a very rewarding experience. Its strength lies in the representation it enjoys from across the industry and from people at all stages of their career.

I’d encourage anyone who’s looking for an opportunity to add something unique and valuable to their CV to submit a nomination to be part of the ICE Council.

Interested in standing for Council?

For more information, please visit ICE Council Elections.

  • Gary Cutts, ICE Trustee Board and Council member at ICE