Editors comment and new issue of magazine available for download

New Infrastructure Intelligence editor, Denise Chevin, previews the latest issue of the magazine and makes a plea for the industry to be bolder and more flamboyant in 2016.

The January-February 2016 issue of Infrastructure Intelligence provides a road map for the 12 months ahead, identifying the major obstacles facing the engineering profession and highlighting areas where progress can be made. Political potholes are everywhere it seems - from the ongoing indecision over airport capacity, to infrastructure funding, to the fallout from flooding. Then there are the roadblocks, like skills shortages and fee levels.

Some of these are not within the gift of the sector to resolve. Others are, and here one of the biggest challenges that only the profession itself can solve is how to increase diversity throughout its ranks. It’s a massive problem, but it needs to be tackled if engineering is to attract the brightest and best from across the social and ethnic spectrum. To this end, the ACE has published the first blueprint of its kind, aimed at helping firms, big and small, to rethink or redouble their efforts. It’s an invaluable and important guide – and deserves the widest readership so we’ve included it as a free insert in the magazine. Diversity & Inclusion – Marginal or Mandatory? is a must-read.

Standing back a little, it is interesting to speculate how much easier and less challenging the landscape might be if engineers and their clients were able to sell projects better to the public at large. It’s a point well made by Thames Tideway Tunnel chief executive Andy Mitchell in our current issue who says that infrastructure needs to promote not only the technical prowess of the project but also its wider benefits to society. Choosing a name that reflects a project’s wider benefit might be a good place to start, he suggests.

Speaking on Radio Four over Christmas, the Duke of Edinburgh seemed to have the correct idea. “Everything not invented by God is invented by an engineer,” he said, and went on to maintain that engineers hold the key to the future of humanity and its very ability to continue to thrive on the planet. How right he is. So when it comes to dealing with the public, let’s try for bolder imagery and a little more flamboyance, and see how many hearts can be won.

Click here to download the new issue of Infrastructure Intelligence here.


When we say diversity, lets be clear: we mean gender equality. Women make up the majority of the population, other minority groups often less than a single percentage point. # So if we need more workers we need to target women specifically and understand their cost benefit analysis. # The key point to remember, is that good pay and reputation can be obtained in many professions in the UK. Unlike a number of countries advancement is not the sole preserve of medicine and engineering. So if we want to attract women we either need to offer remuneration packages and levels of societal recognition far greater than we do presently or sell other attributes. # Let us be honest, the former proposition is not likely to happen. So we need to understand what other aspects differentiate our industry from others, which factors are more meaningful to women than others and then tailor not only our marketing but workflows to magnifying them. # Finally, let us not view engineering with rose tinted glasses. Other jobs are more exciting. Others are more creative and yet others are more intellectually satisfying. Many jobs offer: "no one day is like the other" and many industries are more sociable and offer better advancement opportunities. This is reality. So in a market of opportunities how do we differentiate ourselves; how to we reconfigure our businesses to make them more attractive what unique combinations of opportunity, remuneration, culture, satisfaction etc. can we engineer to make Engineering not only a viable career path for all but also a desirable one. # My instinct is, that if we are to solve this problem we will have to face up to some difficult truths and enforce cultural practices that are going to be resisted in many quarters; not least by clients.