Seven leading contractors and consultants have joined forces with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to help fund a new state-of-the-art engineering exhibition and learning centre.
The centre, which will open in 2016 at ICE's London headquarters as part of ICE's 'Shaping the World' appeal, is designed to help inspire the next generation of engineers and demonstrate the diverse range of engineering careers available to young people.
The 'Shaping the World' appeal is an international campaign which brings together the greatest civil engineering minds across the globe to help alleviate the effects of major future challenges.
AECOM, Carillion, Costain, Kier, Mace Foundation, VINCI Construction UK Limited and WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff have become the first 'founding partners' of the exhibition and learning centre. Together they have pledged over £300,000, and ICE has promised to match industry donations to the £850,000 project. ICE is now renewing its call to the rest of industry to follow suit and to join as partners to help raise the remaining funds needed to bring the vision to life.
The exhibition centre will be an interactive space for young people, teachers, parents and practicing engineers, bringing civil engineering to life with model replicas, installations and digital prototypes of iconic structures, engineering games and 3D printers – making the link between digital and the physical.
Founding partners will be invited to display structural and digital models, installations and case studies to tell a story of how their projects have connected people, socially, economically and physically to improve their wellbeing.
ICE Director General, Nick Baveystock, commented: "ICE is thrilled to welcome these seven giants of industry as founding partners of our exciting space. Our message to those yet to join is simple – exhibit with us, inspire with us. If we are to motivate young people to follow in our footsteps and become tomorrow's innovators we must take this opportunity to pool our resources, and share our stories as a means of trumpeting our achievements."
AECOM chief executive for UK & Ireland Patrick Flaherty said: "In today's world of complex, evolving challenges, engineering design plays a critical role in developing economies, protecting the environment and improving people's lives. From providing clean water to planning cities, the transformational work of our industry leaves a positive, lasting impact. Igniting young imaginations to the possibility of a career in engineering is vital for solving the world's future challenges."
Carillion CEO Richard Howson said: "Solving skills shortages and engaging a diverse range of people with inspiring engineering career opportunities is fundamental to the future of our economy and national infrastructure. Partnering with the Exhibition and Learning Centre, and taking that enthusiasm into the communities where we work and live, will be key to motivating people to gain essential skills and pursue rewarding, exciting careers to shape our future world."
Costain CEO Andrew Wyllie CBE said: "Costain's Engineering Tomorrow strategy is driven by innovation. Customers now demand, on a daily basis, improved performance, new solutions and a shared vision of a better future. Our industry must innovate. Success will only be achieved by those who continually 'raise the bar' in the constant quest for higher standards of excellence."
Kier executive director, construction and infrastructure services Nigel Brook said: "We are proud to be supporting the ICE in encouraging the next generation of engineers to join the current innovators in the industry. Major infrastructure is the lifeblood of economies and shapes our existence, so without civil engineers delivering some of the UK's most recognisable landmarks then the UK landscape would look very different and daily life would be unrecognisable. The breadth of opportunity offered to new entrants within the industry is vast and it's with this campaign that the exhibition and learning centre will be able to truly help inspire young people into being a part of delivering infrastructure for the future."
WSP/Parsons Brinckerhoff UK COO and MD for transport, infrastructure and property Mark Naysmith said: "As the production of data in our projects continues to grow, we now have the available technology to understand and utilise this information in our designs. Competition for digital-savvy recruits will be fierce, and we need to attract the best and the brightest to our industry to make the most of these technological advances. To do this we need to promote how digital skills and building information modelling (BIM) are already positively impacting real projects. This exhibition will help showcase and explain how what was recently impossible is now a reality, and inspire the next generation to drive this evolution forward."