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President's perspectives

The handover of Presidency of the ICT took place at the 2023 ICT Convention in April. It was a well-attended event supported by members, visitors and exhibitors alike at the Welcome Genome Campus at Hinxton, near Cambridge. Conventions like this one take place, and succeed, because they are planned and worked hard for, and supported by so many, and is a huge credit to the Events committee members. The Institute has similarly been the subject continuous work by our outgoing President, Professor Muhammed Basheer and the team of council and committee members, partners and supporters of many kinds, to get to where we are today. I would particularly like to express my gratitude to Basheer for his dedication and ongoing support as I take up the role of President. I hope to build on those successes, to help our industry develop the new skills that will have to be found, created even, and developed to meet the necessity of decarbonising the concrete industry, the largest manufacturing industry in the world, against many uncertain economic and political drivers all around the world.

The 2023 Convention looked into some of these challenges, examining future technologies that might help resolve them and prompted much enthusiastic debate. The papers from the event are reproduced in this Yearbook as usual and in the members' area of the ICT website. Future Conventions will be presented under the ongoing banner, 'The Pursuit of Net Zero Concrete', and we look forward to the 2024 event in Birmingham and those that follow it.

Starting out at this year's Convention was the Institute's new initiative to engage younger members, the ICT Student & Young Professionals' Network (SYPro). A new committee has been formed and plans are in hand for a workshop at the Women's Engineering Society's conference and to continue building the network's links with similar organisations around the world. With plans to publish technical papers and educational materials an effective network is in hand; in their own words 'Unleashing Young Talent, Creating Opportunities and Building a Strong Community'. Students can also now complete their applications and join entirely online at the ICT Website www.theict.org.uk.

It was not possible to receive the president's medallion at the AGM but Rob and I met at a later date and exchanged the medallion and a gift. This meeting was a proper hand over of the presidency, because we discussed how best I could continue the initiatives from his time in office and address the immediate challenges. He suggested how I could meet some of the aspirations that I have during my time as the President.

Another initiative of 2023 is the introduction of a new series of ICT Technical Papers. These are a new feature on our website and members are encouraged to submit papers for consideration as a way of contributing to the collective advance of Concrete Technology.

Our scheme for the Certification of Field-Testing Technicians (CFTT) has been very successful in 2023, with around 18 CFTT sessions held in the year - including sessions in Ireland, Malta and Qatar as well as the UK - and over 350 candidates certified since the scheme was started. Those who are successful in gaining certification are being actively encouraged to join the ICT as a Technician member, and this initiative represents a noticeable portion of recent recruits. Membership continues to grow overall, with active recruitment over this past year and higher numbers of admissions than usual. Applications forms can now be completed and submitted online. We are also in the process of developing a similar certification scheme for strength testing of hardened concrete.

Our arrangements with CSCS in the UK have facilitated an increasing number of ICT members applying for a Professional Qualified Person card, and professional registration with the Engineering Council is being encouraged through an online workshop in November, which is in preparation as I write.

A major challenge for the Institute is to secure the introduction of another course in Advanced Concrete Technology to replace the MSc at Leeds, which is currently on its final run, and much hard work is being directed at this. We are also seeking to develop course providers at Stages 2 and 3 to service demand in India and the wider international community of budding concrete technicians and technologists.

As the many Committees of the ICT continue to drive forward the initiatives needed to grow our Institute, I would encourage all members, at whatever level of membership you are right now, to consider joining at least one Committee and help us to develop the careers of current members, and to provide support and guidance for the technicians and technologists of the future. Also, for students and young professionals to research those new technologies needed for the next generation to take those important steps in our changing industry.

Finally, after 19 years in Blackwater, Camberley, the ICT relocated in July and is now settled into new premises in Sandhurst in Berkshire. Phone numbers and email remain unchanged, but please note our new address, and don't forget to let us know if your details change so that we can keep you up to date with all our initiatives and help support you in your career development.

In short, the ICT, its Officers, Committee members, volunteers, supporters and partners, are hard at work developing the Institute's offering to meet the needs of the concrete industry - you our members, and the members 'yet to be' - as we head into a challenging, ambitious, but we hope ultimately very rewarding future.


Colin Nessfield
President, Institute of Concrete Technology 2023-25