Conference to present the UK as Brexit-ready

ACE will once again be hosting its prestigious national conference this summer with key speakers from industry and politics. Here, Peter Campbell gives us a preview of what is in store.

2017 will be the year in which the UK will really begin to see the impacts of the decision taken in June 2016 to leave the European Union. This is the year in which Article 50 will be triggered, negotiations will begin, and Britain and the other 27 EU nations will start outlining their positions on the various issues that will need to be clarified.

In response to this, ACE has chosen Connecting Markets: UK and the World as the overall theme for its 2017 conference, taking place on Wednesday 7 June in central London. The key to making the UK a success in its post-Brexit guise will be to ensure that the country presents itself as a forward-thinking, well-connected, highly-skilled nation. Our competitors will be doing just this and we cannot allow ourselves to fall behind.

It is with this in mind that the morning session of the conference will focus on the measures being put in place by the government and industry to ensure the UK is Brexit ready. Infrastructure will play a key role in the future of the UK’s economic prosperity, now more than ever, and it is crucial that we start the conversations now to highlight any problems or challenges that must be overcome. Future generations are depending on this.

We will be joined by representatives from government, opposition, and industry who will give us an overview of how key messages from the infrastructure delivery sector are being interpreted and incorporated into thinking. At the same time, this will be a golden opportunity to quiz those in positions of power on the measures being taken and to highlight the challenges we face in delivering the networks we need.

There will also be three panel sessions, providing commentary and analysis, as well as further chances to give voice to those issues we are seeing across the nations and sectors. The first will look at what the government is doing more specifically, while the second will seek to identify what infrastructure we require, while the third will then ascertain what exactly the industry itself needs to do.

Speakers will join us from the industry itself, from key firms across the consultancy, engineering, and contracting sectors, while other speakers will come from academia, technical, and client backgrounds. This will ensure that the very best commentary will be made available to those delegates attending on the day.

The importance of all of this cannot be underestimated. In order for Brexit to be made a success, all three of these factors must align: government must put in place the right policies; world-class infrastructure must be delivered; and the industry has to make it sure it has the personnel and skills necessary to follow through. Otherwise, the UK’s reputation could take a knock that allows our economic competitors to steal a march on us and put our prosperity at risk.

This is your chance to ensure this is not the case, however. The ACE 2017 National Conference represents the best opportunity we will have in the early stages of the negotiations to put across your views, the views of your company, and the views of the whole consultancy and engineering sector to key decision-makers.

It would be incredibly naïve to ignore the notion that these conversations are not taking place in other European capitals, with political leaders across the continent keen to secure the best for their own industries and sectors. We must take every chance we can to put our case to government as to why our industry needs to be considered and why infrastructure must continue to be delivered.

Only then will the UK continue to present itself as an attractive place to invest, to base a business, to attend a university and build a life. This all begins in 2017 with the triggering of Article 50 at the end of March, and we must all ensure we are talking and listening.

Booking is now open to attend the ACE National Conference.

Click here to reserve your place and take advantage of early bird rates until 15 April.

Peter Campbell is a senior policy manager at the Association for Consultancy and Engineering.