September 10, 2018
It was a great honour and privilege to take over the IHE Presidency at our AGM this June, which as luck would have it, was held in my home county of Norfolk at Norwich City Football Club.
When I joined the IHE (then the IHIE) back in 2003, I was particularly impressed by the offer the Institute provided, with routes for aspiring engineers from a practical and non-standard background. I am pleased that these core attributes still remain today and are at the heart of everything we do.
The IHE is not simply a membership organisation or club. Since its conception back in the 1960’s, the core driver of the organisation has been to support practising engineers in their professional development, with a widened scope for those who may have felt held back due to a lack of standard university graduate education. Our key focus continues to centre on the Engineering Council (EC) registration of engineers and technicians at all grades and providing routes for aspiring engineers, regardless of their specialism.
The Institute is an excellent platform from which to serve the industry and the community of highway engineers and technicians and under Richard Hayes’ continued leadership the IHE is in very good health. However we must not take our position for granted as we look ahead to opportunities for us to make further improvements within the sector.
At our AGM, I was delighted to be able to launch the IHE’s virtual Highways Engineering Academy (HEA) Brochure, entitled Elevating the Practical. This brings together the IHE’s training and professional development offering into one consolidated document that, importantly, links training to the achievement of professional qualifications.
In addition to this, we also launched our Professional Development Partnership initiative. Through this we aim to work directly with employers to provide tailored support to their staff, so they can achieve the professional registration and recognition they seek.
Both initiatives are in their relative infancies, but I am confident that they will help attract and support aspiring engineers with their professional development.
During my tenure I would like to enhance the collaboration that exists between the IHE and other professional and industry bodies.
I strongly believe that better cooperation with other organisations and associations will play a key role in strengthening the voice of the highways sector, while continuing to develop the IHE in a way that is of most benefit for its members and for the wider community of highway and transportation engineers.
I would like to pay tribute to Tony Kirby – our now Immediate Past President, whose dedication and commitment over the last two years has seen the Institute move forward in some key areas. Not only has he delivered on initiatives that make council members more accountable and involved in IHE activities, but also he has helped create more inclusive and functional governance in the way we manage our activities.
The HEA is something that Tony championed from the onset but the recent roll-out of the Highways Card and the creation of a National Register of Highway Engineers are other developments he has driven forward.
During his tenure, membership growth has been steady and sustainable and the number of our members who are registered with the EC remains a high percentage of our total.
I’d also like to congratulate Martin Polland for being elected as Junior Vice President at our AGM in June. I look forward to working with Martin, Stephen Webb (Senior Vice President), Ellie Gormley,our Treasurer, and Tony over the next two years.
I want to thank all members for their continued support and for electing me. I will do my best to ensure the continued health and success of the Institute during my time in office.