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Happy New Year from the IHE President

  • Thursday January 10, 2019

Dear IHE Members & Highway Professionals,

First of all I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Can I also spare a thought for all of those who worked during the Christmas and New Year period, across the country to protect and maintain our network, essential services that are all too often taken for granted.

The beginning of January marks just over 6 months into my presidential term and provides a timely opportunity to give you an update on the activities and the IHE’s ongoing initiatives.

Since my last Blog in September it’s been a particularly busy time both personally and for the Institute.

12th September 2018
Round table discussion held Local Road Funding and Governance at CIHT Offices

On the back of the Transport Select Committees Inquiry into local roads funding, the CIHT hosted a roundtable discussion which I attended with representatives from several key organisations including the LGA, CECA and CIHT.  There was real consensus in the room and following a wide ranging discussion, a joint letter was sent to the Committee of which we fully endorsed.  Separately, the IHE submitted written evidence and our CEO Richard Hayes also gave evidence to the Inquiry in early December.  More widely, the CIHT President Matthew Lugg is leading on a review of local highway funding, governance, and operation and there is an opportunity for all those working within the highway industry to help with this work through the survey at the following link: I would urge you all to take the time to contribute.

17th October 2018
Highways Awards, Royal Lancaster Hotel, London

It was a real privilege to be part of the judging panel for the Highways Awards that were celebrated in October.  As always, the awards were extremely well supported by organisations from across the industry and from all corners of the UK.  The IHE once again sponsored what I consider to be one of the most exciting awards, that of Apprentice of the Year.  The number and quality of awards in the category was really impressive and it demonstrated that the work to recruit and develop Apprentices within the highways sector is genuinely bearing fruit.

23rd October 2018
Global Engineering Congress Dinner, ICE HQ, London

The ICE hosted a week long Global Engineering Congress in London as part of its ICE 200 bicentenary programme, the 50th anniversary of the World Federation of Engineering (Organisation’s (WFEO) and in support of the UK Government’s Year of Engineering

As a special guest of the ICE’S President I attended a formal celebration dinner during the Congress, held in the impressive Great Hall at One Great George Street..  It was an opportunity to meet a number of engineers from across world and hear about some of the ideas and initiatives that are taking place globally in the field of Civil Engineering.  I also caught up with the current CIHT President Matthew Lugg and it was an opportunity to talk about ideas in the way in which both the IHE and CIHT could work more closely together in the future.

30th October 2018
Road Safety Foundation Euro RAP results launch, House of Lords

I attended the launch of the 2018 Euro RAP results in the Horse of Lords.  Presentations by Lord Whitty, (Chairman, Road Safety Foundation)  and Lilian Greenwood MP (Chair, Transport Select Committee), were among the speakers who talked through the latest report / statistics and discussed how we can contribute to further reducing the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads each year.

22nd November 2018
Year of Engineering Celebration Westminster Abbey

Along with our Immediate Pat President Tony Kirby I attended The Year of Engineering Celebratory Service at Westminster Abbey.  A number of IHE representatives and members and their guests were also in attendance.  In a packed Abbey, a wonderful service took place.  There were some very thought provoking and inspirational readings from some inspirational Engineering leaders and also from a wide range of engineers across the engineering fraternity.

This was my first time inside Westminster Abbey and the full congregation accompanied by t suburb music and hymns (supported by the Abbey’s choir) made for a great atmosphere and a very memorable occasion.

27th November 2018
All Party Parliamentary Group for Highway Maintenance

The IHE along with The Asphalt Industry Alliance continue to support the APPG for Highways.  November’s meeting involved a presentation for representatives from Oxfordshire County Council who explained to parliamentarians the innovative way they have approach the funding problems faced by Local Highway Authorities, allowing informed longer term investment decisions to be made.

As always, a fruitful and wide wide ranging discussion followed, covering various issues which included:

  • How priorities within the Council are determined,
  • The importance of Local roads
  • The need to repair potholes and similar damage early and quickly and efficiently: The problem of utilities and the reinstatement
  • The potential impacts Major Road Network (MRN) on funding
  • Local population pressures
  • Term Maintenance Contractual opportunities.

General Update

I’m delighted to report that the Institute is in great health and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you about a number of ongoing initiatives.

The IHE has recently been awarded licence by the Engineering Council to award ICT Technician Grade (ICT Tech) following our Engineering Council Interim Licence Review. Through a new collaborative relationship we have forged with the British Computer Society (BS) we are now able to offer routes to professional registration to technicians who are working in our sector in roles that provide, maintain and develop IT systems that support various highway engineering functions and services.  See our website for details.

As well as the usual business of Executive Board and Council in October, the Executive Board held a Business Planning ‘away day’ in December to review the strategic objectives of the Institute and to refresh our forward plans.   These are continue to be exciting times for the IHE and the highways sector as a whole. Perhaps the greatest ongoing challenge facing us continues to be the skills and resources gap across the sector. The IHE is responding to the skills issue with a number of new initiatives planned during the year.   In 2019 we will also be looking at opportunities to work more closely than ever before with our partners and peers, improving collaboration to make further progress on our offer to respective members.

Keep your eyes on our regular news bulletins for information as it happens…

With membership continuing to grow, the IHE’s focus remains on providing routes to Engineering council registration for aspiring engineers and technicians.  Our Engineering Technician workshops are helping promote the Technician grade and the numbers of candidates coming forward for professional review.

The IHE also continues to develop and promote our range of Professional Certificates to those practicing engineers who are looking to have their specialist skills recognised in a way that opens up clear paths to registration.  Exciting times, full of opportunities as an IHE member.

And if you haven’t yet joined us, check our website and sign up to see how the IHE can help you achieve your career aspirations. 

Jonathan Pearson
IHE President


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