Skip to content

President’s Apprentices/Future Leaders

London, United Kingdom




13 years counting




United Kingdom
Project achievements

Open the door to the civil engineering profession to engineering graduate talent

The President's Future Leaders – originally known as ICE President's Apprentices – is an ICE programme that began in 2005.

Initiated by then president Gordon Masterton, the scheme's inspiration was BBC TV series 'The Apprentice' – but the difference being an emphasis on candidates being hired rather than fired.

The idea was to bring the perspectives of young engineers to ICE as well as giving a small group of graduates a place at the heart of the civil engineering profession.

Since the scheme's first 2005 intake successive presidents have selected their own 'apprentices' and set them challenges to help develop ICE.

So far 13 presidents and 102 young engineers have taken on a wide range of challenges for the programme. These have included carrying out research for ICE's State of the Nation reports and promoting the UN's sustainable development goals.

Other projects have seen young engineers helping with campaigns to promote digital engineering and running a review of innovation in the engineering industry.

Today, the scheme is still a great opportunity for young engineers and technicians to boost their careers by learning from industry leaders.

The President's Apprentices

Different generations of ICE President's Apprentices discuss their time in the role and how they helped to shape the world. The idea for the ICE President's Apprentices was developed as a way of symbolising the handing of knowledge over to the next generation.

Did you know …

  1. The Future Leaders programme has parallels in the early years of engineering institutions, including ICE.

  2. The Smeatonian society – founded in 1771 by engineer John Smeaton – was the first group for engineers in Britain to meet and share ideas. Although it was considered influential, it functioned mainly as a dining club with no voice for young engineers.

  3. Some younger engineers started to call for a more effective society for the profession. ICE was founded as a direct result in 1818 with legendary engineer Thomas Telford as its first president.

Difference the future leaders have made

The Future Leaders programme can have a beneficial effect on an engineer's career.

One former participant currently advises government and industry on future skills needs. Another is now in human resources where they're involved in increasing diversity in the profession. Others work in consulting, contracting and international development.

All programme participants become part of the Future Leaders alumni network – giving them the opportunity to draw on the expertise and experience of a network of highly motivated engineers.

How the scheme works

The Future Leaders scheme sees young engineers meet with the president throughout the year.

The 'apprentices' sit in on stakeholder meetings, visit ICE regions and take part in mentoring sessions. They also work with ICE divisions on a range of projects and attend workshops – getting insight and sharing knowledge.

There is always the option for scheme members to continue working on ICE projects after their time on the Future Leaders programme is over.

The scheme typically involves being out of the office for 15 days over the course of the programme. Participants need their employers' full support when they're applying for a place.

People who made it happen

  • Gordon Masterton, ICE president 2005 - 2006

More about this project