The Royal Academy of Engineering has made 72 training grants worth a total of £315,000 to companies all over the UK to support innovative and essential training programmes, particularly in small engineering companies. The Academy is now inviting more applications for Awards to cover 2007/8 training needs - the closing date is 19 October 2007.

Each of the following awards includes a £1,000 bonus prize for providing one of the top five most innovative and exciting training programmes this year:

Abraham Consulting Engineers, a London-based engineering consultancy, has won an £11,000 Award at the first attempt. Abraham Consulting Engineers (ACE), employs ten construction engineers in East London with extensive experience in all types of building structures. The capability has been widened in recent years to include civil engineering for the London Underground and local councils and also health and safety planning. Most of ACE’s work is in the UK but some projects are based overseas. The company aims to encourage career advancement to help the business develop and training for future Directors will involve both specialist technical skills and management skills.

Glasgow-based engineering consultancy Cadogan Consultants has won a £4,000 Award. Cadogan employs 20 people and has recently restructured to specialise in advisory and expert witness work, particularly forensic engineering in support of parties in dispute. They have a successful track record of attracting Academy funding for their training programmes, having received four previous Engineering Professional Development Awards. The latest grant will enable Engineer Karen McNeill to study for a Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety to help her advise on personal injury claims. Director David McIntyre will receive support to study construction law part time at Strathclyde University. Technical Director Daphne Wassermann will benefit from funding to enable her to take time off work to practise commercial mediation on a voluntary basis under the Edinburgh and Glasgow Sheriff Court schemes. “We are delighted to receive a further grant this year and honoured to be awarded the bonus prize,” says Daphne Wassermann. “In our business, keeping up to date is essential but for a small company, training costs can be quite a burden. The grants that we have received from the Royal Academy of Engineering have therefore been particularly valuable to us.”

Crawford & Company’s National Building Services team has won an £11,000 Award in the second year they have applied. Crawford’s National Building Services team is the second largest in the UK subsidence market, handling 35 per cent of the nation’s subsidence claims. Since formation in 1999, staff numbers have risen from 35 to 167, and the company has adopted a comprehensive training programme including a new online induction programme for new staff. Last year they opened a second National Subsidence Unit in Nottingham to complement the existing one in Birmingham and the new team has proved a great success. Training activities include organising an annual subsidence seminar at Aston University and forming the Clay Research Group for academics, insurers, loss adjusters and contractors to share research. This includes a fully instrumented test site at Aldenham School to study the effects of trees on clay soils. The company also holds an annual conference to focus on the business challenges – ending with a team-building event to celebrate Brunel’s bicentenary. This involved building a paper bridge over a model of the Avon gorge – the winning bridge spanned the 90 cm gorge and could carry six bags of sugar. Robert Sharpe, National Building Services Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised by the Royal Academy of Engineering for the quality of our industry-leading training programmes.

St Asaph-based engineering consultancy Eurostep Ltd has won a £6,000 Award. This is the first time that the company has entered the annual competition for these awards and reflects the high quality of their training proposals. Eurostep Limited, which employs 14 people at its St Asaph offices, specialises in software and logistics support for clients including Volvo and Boeing. Eurostep provides systems to track and record data on products over their whole lifecycles. Its flagship Share-a-Space server enables companies to share only specified data when they are collaborating, perhaps on a new product, without giving each other unfettered access to their entire database and intellectual property. Eurostep applied for Academy funding to help train all 12 of its engineers in the new Share-a-Space system and two of them in advanced Java programming. “We were delighted to receive this award,” said Nigel Shaw, Managing Director, Eurostep Limited, “The support from the Royal Academy of Engineering has enabled us to spread the training in Share-A-space across the complete company.”

Fleet Support Ltd, the ship repair and logistics company, has won an £11,000 Award, also at the first application. Fleet Support, which employs just under 1,500 people at Portsmouth Naval Base, will use the award to expand training development, which will enable FSL personnel to further increase their skills. As an immediate impact, 23 staff will go on training courses specific to their jobs, ranging from management and leadership skills, design and safety courses to welding and testing. Tracy Elliott, FSL Human Resources Manager, Learning and Development, explains “This was our first attempt at seeking external funding to support training. Given how tight budgets are nowadays it’s great to be able to demonstrate good practice and gain external support for our training delivery.”

“We have been making these awards for thirteen years now,” says Robin Bond, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Lead Assessor for the scheme. “Each year we are impressed with the quality of the submissions, particularly those who earn our bonus for exciting training schemes. Both employers and employees benefit from innovative training, and we are pleased to be able to support all sizes of companies and all kinds of training, from languages to business management.”

Notes for editors

  1. Founded in 1976, The Royal Academy of Engineering promotes the engineering and technological welfare of the country. Our fellowship – comprising the UK’s most eminent engineers – provides the leadership and expertise for our activities, which focus on the relationships between engineering, technology, and the quality of life. As a national academy, we provide independent and impartial advice to Government; work to secure the next generation of engineers; and provide a voice for Britain’s engineering community.
  2. Engineering Professional Development Awards are open to all UK companies in the engineering, manufacturing, construction and building service sectors. The award scheme, funded by the Office of Science and Innovation within the DTI, aims to help companies to stay competitive by providing funds to support professional training programmes for their engineers. Further information about the scheme is available from The Academy's Education Affairs Department. Closing date for applications for 2007/8 awards is 19 October 2007.

For more information please contact

Jane Sutton at The Royal Academy of Engineering