Mentoring The Next Generation

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

9 February 2016

Costain’s growing reputation as an organisation that works hard at improving its professional staff members’ qualifications is increasingly attracting people from competitors, according to the Group’s Technical Director.

Bill Hewlett made the comment as the latest batch of staff passed their professional reviews with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). All nine passed the ICE’s criteria to become either Chartered or Incorporated Civil Engineers.

Costain’s 100% success rate was well above the overall ICE pass rate, which stands at 79%.

“I’m very keen to see promoted both within and outside the business the idea that we’re a learning organisation,” said Bill. “As an engineering solutions provider, continuous learning is at the heart of what we do.”

“Our success rate is strong evidence of this facet of our business, and speaks directly to our commitment and how we view our responsibilities.”

Achieving success at professional engineering review requires an educational base – normally a degree in engineering – together with a period of initial professional development mentored through Costain’s approved training schemes and the submission of a report peer-reviewed by senior members of the profession.

There are three grades of qualification: Chartered Engineer, Incorporated Engineer and Engineering Technician. “They combine into an ‘eco-system’ and I would suggest that each is equally valuable,” said Bill.

However, Costain’s success in putting forward staff for professional review is bringing its own challenges, namely the need for more staff to come forward to act as mentors, or ‘supervising civil engineers’ (or SCEs in ICE-speak) for their colleagues undergoing the professional development period.

“In Costain, we don’t like mentors to have more than three, or at most four, ‘mentees’. If we have 200 people wanting to become Chartered Engineers, we need 60-70 SCEs.”

These mentors are needed not only for the ICE qualification, but also for the other professional engineering institutions, especially the IMechE, IET and IChemE.

“Indeed, the IET and IMechE Schemes are the fastest growing in Costain now,” points out Bill, “which reflects the developing nature of our business. We need to formalise our mentor group in these areas especially. In all we have around 500 professionally qualified engineers in the business.”

With that in mind, Bill and his team would like to see more experienced staff coming forward to help their colleagues take the next steps in their careers.

The latest personnel to achieve professional qualifications are:

Ben Howard, Agent, CEng, and also nominated for the ICE’s James Rennie Medal
Michael Stoneley, Senior Engineer, CEng, and also nominated for the James Rennie Medal
Harry Helliwell, Section Engineer, CEng,
Ian Arden, Agent, CEng
Katie Swanick, Senior Engineer, CEng,
Sergio Alarcon, Senior Engineer, CEng,
Sharon Leach, SHE Advisor, CEng,
Ruth Fuller Senior Engineer, CEng
Paul Siberry, Senior Engineer, IEng


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