In her final regular column for Infrastructure Intelligence, outgoing chief executive Hannah Vickers reflects on her time at ACE.
am extremely proud of what we achieved over the last three years and I am leaving ACE certain that a bright future lies ahead for its members and the industry more widely.
The pandemic will probably be how most people choose to remember my time at the helm and I am rightly proud of how we reacted. We quickly developed a programme of ongoing support and guidance for members to help them navigate the stormy waters. However, given the enormity of what we faced in the spring of 2020, we knew only political support would help see us through a truly unprecedented moment in our history.
Engaging with the chancellor and working through the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), we built industry consensus for some solid wins for members – the introduction of furlough, the Construction Talent Retention Scheme – and planted the seeds of new ideas that are only now coming to fruition, such as the Levelling-Up Fund and National Infrastructure Bank.
I’m probably even more proud of the difficult work that ACE has achieved in starting conversations around the structural changes coming to the industry. Firstly, by launching the Future of Consultancy campaign and later turning it into a core workstream, we have created a framework for the discussion of the future and how our businesses should deal with issues around changing markets, skills, and digital transformation.
I am extremely proud of what we achieved over the last three years and I am leaving ACE certain that a bright future lies ahead for its members and the industry more widely. Hannah Vickers
It is often forgotten that none of this is easy! I know that it has sometimes been difficult to translate high-level thinking into tangible action, and I’m sure that on more than one occasion I have got lost in intricacies around procurement, but thanks to projects like the recently launched Consultancy 4.0 – which among other things aims to act as showcase for the impact and ingenuity of the sector for clients – we are starting to turn this more conceptual thinking into practical member-benefit.
Furthermore, I’m delighted we’ve been able to ramp up our net zero work and are helping our members and their clients adapt to a new carbon free world. I am confident that this good work will continue through ACE and that members will be best prepared for the medium to long-term challenges our industry faces.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us achieve so much, starting with ACE’s staff who deliver – day-in, day out – for the industry and its members, board members for giving up their time for the good of the sector and wider stakeholders for joining us as we aimed for big changes.
Finally, to our members for their ongoing support of ACE and recognising that we are stronger together than as one. Thank you and I look forward to us collaborating together in the future.
Hannah Vickers was previously chief executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) and is now chief of staff at construction firm Mace.