You can join both instutiions, for free, online. Becoming a student member allows you to take advantage of events and facilities that as a graduate, you would have to pay for. So what is on offer and why is it worth signing up?
The Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded in 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers was an attempt at a more open and professionally orientated organisation than the existing Smetonian Society of Civil Engineers, that had been around since 1771.
ICE had a weak start, until Thomas Telford took on the role of president in 1820. Telford?s strong contacts, both industrial and political, strengthened the Institution, which gained it?s Royal Charter in 1828.
With nearly 80,000 members ICE has gone from strength to strength, truly a professional leader. The vast majority of these members are working/practising engineers while student membership is approaching 20%.
Existing in 150 countries ICE?s international presence lends gravity to the charity, while it?s publishing arm, Thomas Telford, publishes a range of key professional and academic books, including the journal, Geotechnique, founded by Alec Skempton.
Based at One Great George Street, just off Westminster Square, the headquarters has a well stocked library and rooms that play host to numerous events for professional development including those ran by the Graduate & Students (G&S) group.
ICE G&S is a unique opportunity, not only in terms of personal development, but also to meet students from other universities and recent graduates - the more easy going kind of industry contact. The G&S arm has strong ties with Imperial with current fourth years Owen Jones and Peter Wong So active on the committee. Elections for the committee are coming up this month, for which more information can be found on the ICE website (www.ice.org.uk). Typical events mix development and social themes and most notable is the annual Building Bridges event, where graduates help students in an evening of model bridge building. This may at first sound arduous it is in fact a fun and social do.
Probably the most important feature of the ICE, for graduate engineers, is chartership. Becoming chartered requires you to gain experience in key areas of the industry to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency as a professional, practising engineer - but all this excitement only really begins once you graduate!
The past presidents of the ICE form a who?s who of the world of engineering: Sir John Rennie, Sir Basil Mott, Sir Joseph Bazalgette, Sir William Halcrow, the list goes on (see the box below). Unfortunately the great Isambard Kingdom Brunel died as Vice-President, never getting the chance to lead the organisation.
For more information visit the ICE website.
Institute of Structural Engineers
The Institute for Structural Engineers is a much younger organisation than the ICE. Only receiving it?s Royal Charter in 1934 it has become the world leading professional body for structural engineers and our very own Head of Department is a past president.
Originally named the Concrete Institute, IStructE was founded at the Ritz Hotel in 1908 to bring standards to the use of concrete. In 1922 the Institute took on it?s modern name to incorporate all structures and most importantly include steel construction, which combined with concrete dominate almost the entire industry.
Like the ICE, IStructE has been growing since inception and now sports over 20,000 members spread across over 100 countries. The entrance examinations, first started in 1920 were precursors to chartership to IStructE and still exist as the final, one day open book exam.
Offering many opportunities for professional development including lectures and conferences, IStructE doesn?t have a graduates and students wing quite like the ICE. Don?t be put off by this though, students are more often than not welcome to events and there are free talks running intermittently throughout the year, including the particularly noteworthy Kenneth Kemp Bequest Lecture. Also there is the placement website that IStructE operates, for the benefit of undergraduate members with free summers. Prizes and a design competition also provide distractions worth investigating.
Although the IStructE may not have anything on the scale of ICE?s Graduate and Students Committee it does have a Student Panel that works with the other committee of the institute and works on raising IStructE awareness, so they do care about you.
Based in Belgravia, the offices are close to campus and sport a technical library and host talks. Those interested can visit 11 Upper Belgrave Street and the ICE headquarters in one hit, they are within reasonable walking distance.
For more information visit the IStructE website.