Shani Wallis, TunnelTalk
- In grand surroundings at the Institution of Civil Engineers in Westminster, London, Young Members of the British Tunnelling Society (BTS) celebrated recently their first five years of success.
Young Members celebrate with BTS guests at the ICE
- Formed officially in October 2008 an initial small group of young professionals in the industry, lead by Kate Cooksey of UK tunnelling contractor Morgan Sindall, has expanded steadily to welcome not only new members to the group but also new professional recruits to the industry.
- At a special dinner hosted by Young Members in the Brunel Room at the ICE, current BTSYM Chairman Petr Salak of consulting engineers Dr Sauer & Partners explained that the mission of the group is to promote the tunnelling industry, educate young professionals and students, and maintain continuity of expertise and knowledge from one generation to the next. "In the past five years," he noted, "Our achievements have amounted to organizing more than 20 lectures, 15 site visits and networking events, several workshops, anda successful conference in November last year (2012)."
Chairman Petr Slak reports on the journey so far
- Members of the group have also conducted visits to high schools and colleges and talked to more than 200 students regarding tunnelling affairs. "These visits have generated feedback such as "best science class ever" from students," said Salak. "During this fifth year of activity, we are working hard on a teachers' pack, which will provide all necessary information for teachers to conduct lessons on tunnelling subjects without the presence of BTSYM members."
- In her presentation, founding Chairwoman Kate Cooksey explained how, "from a feeling of a committee of one, a core group of young employees of tunnelling companies in the UK industry agreed to invest time, interest and mutual goals in the development of the Young Members group". With the full support of the BTS main committee under then BTS Chairman Paul Hoyland of UK contractor Balfour Beatty, "we established a firm footing and secured the support of subsequent BTS Chairmen and an equally committed set of follow-on leaders of the Young Members."
- As well as contributing significantly to the establishment of an MSc degree course in tunnelling at the Warwick University in the UK and to the annual BTS Tunnel Design and Construction Course, the Young Members also advanced a major proposal at the ITA World Tunnel Congress this year in Geneva to establish a Young Members Group for the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association. The suggestion was a proposal that was received enthusiastically by ITA President Søren Eskesen. This will inspire other societies of the 70+ ITA member nations to create their very own Young Members Groups.
Remembering the start in 2008 - then BTS Chairman Paul Hoyland and founder BTSYM Chairwoman Kate Cooksey
- Ahead of the celebration dinner, the Young Members held a lecture in the Telford Theatre on a topic that linked current young members of the BTS with tunnelling works of more than a century ago. Presented by two young engineers recruited from abroad by UK consultants Donaldson Associates, Michal Kowalski and Georgios Chatzichristou presented a lecture on their investigation of hidden shafts excavated as part of Victorian era railway tunnels across the UK which are now backfilled and sealed off or long forgotten and effectively lost. BTSYM Salak, himself a recruit to the UK tunnelling industry from abroad, reminded the audience that the presentation is recorded by ICE and available on the internet for subsequent viewing.
- In closing the celebrations, Chairman Salak thanked all past and present BTSYM committee members for their contribution, the main BTS committee for their leadership, all speakers for their knowledge, sponsors for their support, past chairs for their commitment "and for all others who have helped us get to where we are today." From a firm foundation established through its first five years of being, the future of the group of young tunnelling engineers - those 33 years and younger - is set to go from strength to strength.
BTS Young Members website
BTS Young Members lecture, October 2 2013 –Hidden Shafts-Investigations into Victorian Railway Tunnels across the UK - ICE recording
WTC Geneva marks milestones for the ITA - TunnelTalk, June 2013
UK MSc course for masters in tunnelling - TunnelTalk, July 2011
BTS Tunnel design and construction course - TunnelTalk, May 2013
Presenting the tunneling career possibilities - TunnelTalk, February 2013
BTS celebrates 40 years of success - TunnelTalk, October 2011
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