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Re-launched Northern Ireland branch to be based in South West College

  • Tuesday May 17, 2022

Highway engineering professionals and students are set to benefit as South West College (SWC) announced that the Northern Ireland (NI) Branch of the Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) has been re-established and will be based at the SWC Omagh Campus.

With such a prevalence of firms operating in the construction, civil engineering and transport industries, combined with a predicted skills shortage within the NI Region, the Council of the IHE, sitting in London, has granted authority for the NI Branch of the Institute to be re-constituted.

This is a significant achievement for SWC Omagh Campus as it is the first occasion when a professional engineering body has had its administrative functions delivered in either a college or university in the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The initial officers of the branch are Professor Alan Woodside (formerly of Ulster University) as chairman, William Young (South West College) as secretary and Shane Camley (Department for Infrastructure), as treasurer.

Key representatives flew in from England and Scotland to be at the inaugural meeting of the reformed branch, which was held on 6 April in Omagh and attended by existing and potential new members; representatives from the highways industry and college students.

The keynote address was delivered by Martin Polland (incoming IHE President), followed by technical presentations on the Belfast Transport Hub by Duncan McAllister (head of Belfast Transport Hub) and the A6 Dungiven Bypass by Michael Megarry (project manager for the A6 Dungiven to Drumahoe Dualling scheme).

Professor Woodside said: ‘It is a unique offering, and we should take pride in that it has never been done before in the UK; not only will it serve the local engineering profession, but also it will be a tremendous benefit to the students studying, transport, construction and civil engineering, to have this opportunity available right on their doorstep.’ Mr Polland, from Transport Scotland, said: ‘I am delighted to support the resurrection of the Branch and am looking forward to meeting students and the benefits it will provide to them and their careers.’

Mr McAllister added: ‘Within the sector, female representation is growing, and currently, 50% of lead roles in my team are now occupied by women.

‘The IHE has been designed to showcase what is happening in Northern Ireland and the opportunities available to men and women both locally and nationally.’

The IHE aims to provide professional development opportunities, support and leadership for individuals to achieve and maintain professional recognition, as well as deliver a skilled workforce, economic growth and prosperity to the NI Region.

So, whether you are a dedicated learner looking for professional insight into this fast-paced sector or an engineering professional or an employer wanting to develop or upskill your workforce, the IHE has been designed to support you.


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