President's perspectives

“May you live in interesting times” is a quote from Sir Terry Pratchett in the Discworld books. If you haven't read any of them, give it a try with “The Colour of Magic”.

Why did I open with that - well, it is actually used as a curse in the books, the recipient supposedly doomed to chaos and confusion, rather than a quiet (and boring) life. I'm sure somebody, about 6 months ago uttered a variation of “The next few months are going to be really interesting”!

It has certainly been an unprecedented year - with everything changing in how we work and interact - but we all trust that things are returning to a level of normality, albeit a new version of normal.

A key thing we all have grasped, and particularly in the ICT, is the need to adapt and look to the future of how we work. Having postponed the AGM and Symposium from March, we geared up for the possibility of running it in September, but again Covid-19 was not playing ball. Our ‘Virtual AGM and Convention’ did run, on the 3rd and 4th of that month, and was very well received. The papers were excellent and are, of course, reproduced in this magnificent tome you are reading.

The ICT has still been working over the past year, keeping up our mission - the promotion of concrete technology and recognition of our members across the globe. Although our key qualifications suffered postponement and cancellations through lockdown and social distancing, we have worked to develop new channels using various IT platforms to keep up with the educational side of things. Webinars - in association with LKAB Minerals - have been a great success - and we will be looking to use this format in the future. The potential to introduce on-line learning is being reviewed, with ICT qualifications and some of the University courses looking to be run in this fashion. Information will be posted on the new ICT website, which will soon be ready to access.

A major outcome of ongoing negotiations is that the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) now recognise more levels of ICT qualifications. Hence, a ‘Professionally Qualified Person’ card is now obtainable by our Technician members.

We continue to work in close association with our colleagues at the Concrete Society and at ACI, to ensure we collectively deliver the best for our members and those who come to us to enhance their knowledge and careers. Our association with the Society of Operations Engineers (SOE) and the Engineering Council, allowed us to put forward new candidates this autumn. I am very pleased to announce that Drs Sudarshan Srinivasan and Noushin Khosravi were elected as Chartered Engineers.

Other latest news, as of September, is that we have successfully entered a Partnership with RILEM. This will bring benefits to members of both organisations and increase the ICT's global presence.

I would finally like to add my thanks - and that of the Institute as a whole - to all those who serve as committee chairs, on the committees and behind the scenes, who keep us running. Special thanks to those who have retired from various positions and to those who have stepped up to fill those roles - and on this occasion, a salute to Peter Hewlett, who has ably chaired the editorial panel of the ICT Yearkook since 1996, guiding it through a quarter-century to this ‘silver’ edition.

My thanks too to Solidia for sponsoring its publication.

Remember that this is our Institute - we are the ones who make it work and drive its mission. As we move out from the disruptions of 2020, let us keep that mission in mind, and make sure we are delivering on it for the next generations of Concrete Technologists, as they will be the future of “The Institute of Concrete Technology”.

Rob Lewis
President, Institute of Concrete Technology 2019-2021