Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Visit to Great Britain Region

Last week both John Power and I went to London to visit the Great Britain Region of Engineers Ireland. As in previous years the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) very kindly gave the use of one of their rooms in Westminster for my Presidential Address to the GB Region.

There to greet us was the Engineers Ireland local Chairman Don Keigher and Vice Chair and Secretary Dr. Katherine Cashell and many of our members in the GB Region. This Region is in fact currently growing with many more Irish members which is not surprising in the current economic climate in Ireland.

I am a Fellow of ICE so was delighted to see their elegant period offices again. I was also honoured that the ICE President Richard Coackley and two of his Vice Presidents Alan Stilwell and Tim Broyd and Director of Membership David Lloyd-Roach all attended the Address and hosted us to dinner afterwards. Also present was Jon Pritchard CEO of the Engineering Council which regulates all chartered engineering Institutions in the UK. Richard also had with him two of his President’s Apprentices – Angela Crowther and Yan Zhou. He has 6 Apprentices who are chosen young graduates who compete for the role and who shadow the President at his events for the year and obviously learn a great deal.

Pictured at Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) London at the Presidential Address 
to the Great Britain (GB) Region of Engineers Ireland were Don Keigher Chairman of the GB Region, P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland and Richard Coackley President of the Institution of Civil Engineers
My address 'Building a Sustainable Recovery' concentrated on the ambition of Engineers Ireland to help regrow the Irish economy. We are doing this in a number of ways including helping with the teaching of Leaving and Junior Certificate Mathematics, supporting the engineering research efforts of our Third Level colleges and highlighting the critical role that Chartered Engineers are playing and can in the future play in the growth of the Irish economy.

I noted that our education in Ireland system has always been the key driver of our competitive advantage. That system is currently challenged to produce the learning outcomes and careers which the modern world now needs in terms of collaborative team building, communications and problem solving skills - these skills abound in the engineering profession and therefore we engineers have a unique opportunity to help rebuild our ailing economy through innovation and enterprise in our chosen field.

Apart from education I also dealt with the delays to infrastructure projects in the planning system in Ireland and the ever increasing need to communicate 'project need' with stakeholders and the general public.

Finally I showed the Engineers Ireland TV advert on 'Chartered Engineers - Bringing Dreams to Life for Me and You' launched last autumn and due to run on Irish TV and Sky networks for the next 3 years. The ICE President was most taken with the advert as he had heard about it from one of his members when in Hong Kong recently. After the Address, I met many of the Irish engineers who have come to London in recent years, mostly from Cork, Kerry, Galway and Sligo. I was reminded of what I said about our engineering graduates abroad in my Inaugural Address last May – ‘that they will in time return to a more prosperous Ireland in a couple of years time – that is the challenge we now face’.

As John and I left London, we felt terribly proud of our young graduates in London and indeed our entire GB Region led so ably by Don and Katherine. They deserve and will get from Engineers Ireland our maximum support in the years ahead.

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