NEWS / Press Releases / ACE announces "Future of Consultancy" campaign


06 NOV 2018


Campaign will help sector seize opportunities created by major technological shifts

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has today announced a new “Future of Consultancy” campaign. 

Delivering her inaugural keynote speech at the European CEO Conference in London, chief executive Hannah Vickers shared her vision for how the campaign would help the entire consultancy and engineering sector welcome a new era of design and delivery in the built environment.

In a speech warmly received by conference attendees, Vickers outlined the disruptive influences of new technology and their impacts already being felt by the sector. She highlighted the further step-changes that digitally enabled manufacturing, whole-life asset performance, big data and AI would bring in the future.

Coupled to the changing needs of government and private sector clients, and more broadly society, for smart, productive and sustainable buildings and infrastructure, she described the situation as a “perfect moment for change.”

However, Vickers also stressed that the situation created “opportunities not challenges” and highlighted that a change in approach would provide the means for the sector to “join-up thinking” and to respond proactively to the vision of the government’s Construction Sector Deal and the Industrial Strategy, as well as other initiatives such as Project 13, while creating new business opportunities for ACE members.

In order to achieve this, ACE has set out a two-phased campaign following extensive engagement with members and other professional and trade associations:

  • The first phase will scope new areas of opportunity, identify and explore new business models for consultancy and analyse the sector’s changing needs in terms of skills. 

  • The second will implement the findings from phase one and focus on enhancing existing revenue streams and the development of new ones, piloting tomorrow’s training, apprenticeship schemes and contracts and creating effective and fit-for-future-purpose industry forums and partnerships to support a vibrant, profitable and sustainable industry.

Commenting on the announcement, Hannah Vickers said: “We shouldn’t be fearful of the new working environment, in fact the opposite. This is a huge opportunity for us all to make the most of new technology, develop effective business models and create new ways of working. This will ensure that the values of consulting engineers, in providing independent professional judgment, is guaranteed well into the future and that our industry remains the backbone to the UK’s economic growth.

“I’m delighted with the initial response to the Future of Consultancy campaign and look forward to engaging with ACE members, the government and other industry groups to help us turn it into reality over the coming months.”

A number of industry stakeholders responded to the Future of Consultancy campaign announcement:

Dr Diana Montgomery, chief executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA) said: “We’re looking forward to working with ACE on the Future of Consultancy campaign. The technological changes we’re all facing creates huge challenges but also opportunities which will only be realised through deeper and more meaningful cross-sector engagement.”

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said: “We wholeheartedly support the vision for the Future of Consultancy and look forward to further engagement with ACE and its members. We’re already working together on Project 13’s industry readiness group and given the importance of contractors to the supply chain, we need to be part of these conversations too. This will ensure that collectively we can effectively deliver the next generation of infrastructure.”

Mathew Riley, managing director UK at Ramboll, and current ACE chair, said: “The entire ACE board are firmly behind this new campaign which brings all members together to meet the challenges in delivering the next era of infrastructure and buildings, as well as meeting the changing demands of public and private sector clients.”

Further details of the campaign, and the next steps, will be shared in early 2019. ACE members, stakeholder groups, industry leaders interested in getting involved are invited to contact ACE at:


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