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A presidential call to arms: volunteer with ICE to help shape your industry

03 November 2022

Keith Howells has called on all members to become involved with ICE activity. Here are the opportunities available for engineers at every stage of their careers.

A presidential call to arms: volunteer with ICE to help shape your industry
ICE President Keith Howells calls on members to engage at his Presidential Address. Image credit: Visual Eye Creative

In his Presidential Address, new ICE President Keith Howells discussed how important the knowledge and expertise of ICE members is.

It may seem an obvious point that without our members, ICE wouldn’t exist, but your knowledge, experience, and expertise is so fundamental to the institution’s work its importance can’t be overstated.

Without your insight, we wouldn’t be able to produce papers, develop training, or react to relevant industry events.

We’re proud of the work we do, but, as President Howells pointed out – there is a lot of untapped potential.

In our last membership survey, almost half of you (47%) said that you hope to engage more with the ICE.

No matter where you are in your career or professional life, there is an opportunity for you to connect with your fellow members and contribute to how the ICE is shaping the future of civil engineering.

1. Inspire future civil engineers

STEM ambassadors talking to children
As an ICE STEM ambassador, you'll have a chance to inspire young people to become civil engineers.

You may think that if you are just starting out in your first job, or if you are newly qualified that you aren’t yet experienced enough to shape the future of the industry.

But that's not the case – you are perfectly poised to inspire the next generation of civil engineers through one of ICE’s education or mentoring programmes.

Volunteering as an ICE ambassador will give you the opportunity to speak to young people about working as a civil engineer.

You may support them in running a STEM club or be a resource for them as they tackle CityZen Award challenges.

You’ll be given training by STEM Learning so you’ll know all the ins and outs of working with young people, and you’ll also develop key skills like public speaking and planning, which can count towards your own CPD.

Becoming an ICE ambassador, or supporting a trainee engineer through ICE’s Training Scheme, is also a fantastic way for people to see and experience how the industry is changing, for example, by welcoming many more women and people of diverse backgrounds.

Members Virtue Igbokwuwe and Ayo Sokale, have previously shared why representation is such an important part of breaking down barriers and changing old narratives about working in civil engineering.

2. Help new civil engineers reach their goals

Perhaps you’ve been working as a professional engineer for several years – you probably enjoy sharing your insights and experience with more junior colleagues in the workplace.

If that’s the case, then becoming a professional reviewer could be a great opportunity.

As a professional reviewer, you will play a pivotal role in helping fellow professionals meet their goals.

As ICE professional reviewer and project engineer Siu Fa Ng put it: "Reviewers deconstruct written professional development reports, following up with questions to ask candidates on the day of their review."

Fellow reviewer David J Stewart said one the best things about being a reviewer is how much he learns from the process:

"The candidates I’ve met have worked in a wide range of fields and as a reviewer, I genuinely learn from them…The review process really helps to calibrate your perception of the behaviours we should expect of professional engineers."

Being a reviewer and helping others reach their professional goals is a rich and rewarding experience that also helps you keep your finger on the pulse of emerging industry themes.

It’s a great way to continue learning even as you’re nurturing new talent.

3. Help shape policy for all civil engineers

Westminster Bridge with Big Ben
ICE policy fellows are instrumental in the ICE's work with policy and decision makers in the UK. Image credit: Shutterstock

If you've reached a point in your career where you’re responsible for the promotion, planning, design, construction, maintenance or management of major projects, you may want to consider applying to be an ICE Fellow.

Obtaining an ICE Fellowship recognises your contribution to the profession and opens doors for new opportunities to help shape the future of the industry.

As an ICE Fellow, you can volunteer your time and share your expertise as a policy fellow.

ICE policy fellows support the Policy and External Affairs Committee and are instrumental in the ICE’s work with policy and decision makers in the UK.

We rely on the insights and experience our policy fellows can draw on to advise policymakers on how infrastructure can help us deliver a more sustainable world.

In the words of some of our policy fellows

"I have volunteered to be an ICE policy fellow to give some payback for all the learning and great experience I gained during my working life."

Dr Michèle Dix

"Many of the great problems facing our society need clever engineering as part of their solutions – our profession needs to ensure that the trajectory to those solutions is always rational, holistic and evidence-based.

"It is an honour to be part of the ICE team advocating for better infrastructure solutions to improve the health, happiness and prosperity of real people."

Tim Chapman, director of infrastructure design, Arup

"Why did I volunteer? Well, I know that as engineers we are well placed to find solutions to the many huge challenges that society faces today.

"So, I am keen to use my perspective as a civil engineer to shape thinking by our policymakers, and to use my experience to shape our profession to best support society."

Graham Dalton, non-executive director, Scottish Water

If you are interested in becoming an ICE policy fellow, attend the upcoming webinar to hear more about the role.

Help us do what we do better

Reading through the member comments and experiences shared here, you’ll get a sense of what these ICE volunteer roles mean to these members.

Engaging with students, other members, and colleagues is not only highlighting positive change in the industry to them but helping them stay energised for new challenges.

The feeling of shaping the future of the industry is another common theme among ICE volunteers.

As President Howells put it in his Presidential Address,

“…As well as the pride and kudos members enjoy in developing guidance that has the potential to become an industry standard, or in research studies that can influence government policy, those involved speak highly of the experience, particularly the opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, others.

So please step up: let us use your expertise for the greater good of the profession, the industry, and of society; and help us all do what we do better.”

Volunteer with the ICE

  • Maggie Eckel, media relations manager at ICE