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ICE West Midlands member becomes one of the youngest to achieve fellowship in 60 years

01 April 2022

Growing up in Shropshire, Matthew Procter loved building, but didn’t encounter engineering until he was applying to go to university – the first in his immediate family to do so. 

ICE West Midlands member becomes one of the youngest to achieve fellowship in 60 years
Matthew Procter hopes his story of becoming an ICE fellow at a young age will help to inspire others.

ICE West Midlands member, Matthew Procter, has become a fellow at the age of 34, making him one of the youngest in recent years.

In fact, last year, the average age for new fellows was 51 years old.

Procter works for Balfour Beatty as a senior pre-construction manager.

His thirst for knowledge, combined with his passion and ability to overcome operational and technical challenges in his work, has contributed to this quick progression.

Tony Ellender, professional development manager at Balfour Beatty, said: “At Balfour Beatty, we strive to go above and beyond to support our people in achieving accredited Civil Engineering status, with dedicated training and development programmes in place.”

“We hope that Matthew will encourage others to reach new heights and achieve their goals, with our support.”

'An incredible achievement’

Procter’s motivation to apply for ICE fellowship came after attending his Chartership Awards, where he saw other industry-leaders being awarded fellowship.

Procter said he’s extremely proud to have been awarded fellowship, and humbled to be one of only 60 individuals to have done so by the age of 35 since the 1960s.

He hopes his story of becoming an ICE fellow at a young age will help to inspire others:

“I aim to leverage my new status to support positive changes within the industry and am motivated to support others by showcasing that there is a pathway for everyone to achieve their ambitions.”

Jo Barnett, ICE West Midlands regional director, said Procter is a credit to the ICE and the wider civil engineering industry, whose members shape the future of public infrastructure.

“Becoming an ICE Fellow at 34 years old is an incredible achievement... Well done, Matthew!” Barnett said.

A love for building and creating

Growing up in rural Shropshire, the son of a dairy farmer and post office clerk, Procter was the first in his immediate family to attend university, studying a civil engineering master's degree at the University of Warwick.

Procter said: “As a child I was very logic driven, precise and organised. I loved building and creating things – whether that be train tracks, plastic bricks, drawing roads on the garden path with chalk, or when in my teens, doing practical work on the farm.”

“I never knew what a civil engineer was. It was only when I was flicking through university prospectuses that I stumbled across engineering.”

“The more I read, the more I realised that the words were describing me and that I wanted to have a career in the engineering world,” Procter said.

An avid Shrewsbury Town FC supporter and season ticket holder, Procter has other local affiliations in Shropshire as a parish councillor, which started through voluntary engineering support to develop and construct a rural community pathway.

This is just one of the ways Procter devotes his time to supporting civil engineering as he also sits on the Industry Advisory Panel for the University of Warwick and is a STEM Ambassador.

Procter has a three-year-old son and is due to get married in May.

Joining the under-40s cohort

Yan Zhou, senior associate director at Jacobs, also became a fellow before turning 40 – he was 37 at the time. Zhou is an engaged member of the ICE, currently serving as an ICE Council member.

Becoming a fellow of the ICE (FICE) before turning 40 was an ambitious target he set for himself when he first got chartered.

In 2019, just 1% of ICE fellows were less than 40 years old, and about 8% of ICE fellows at the time had received the grade when they were under 40.

“Achieving FICE at the age of 37 was like a dream come true,” Zhou said.

Procter and Zhou are part of a small cohort of young fellows.

The youngest member to become a fellow was Craig Douglas Malcolm who was 30 years old at the time, in 1969.

More recently, in 2016, Ben TC Chan became a fellow at the age of 31.

Furthermore, only 24 members have achieved fellowship between the ages of 32 and 34 in the last 60 years, including Procter.

Find out more

To find out more about the routes to fellowship, interested parties can attend one of the ICE fellowship workshops or contact the relevant ICE regional director.

Learn more
  • Fiona Walsh, communications executive at ICE