Where can young engineers sort out any worries they have about their careers and talk about their futures? Roger McLaughlin has the answer
Roger McLaughlin is principal engineer at consulting engineer Cameron Taylor Bedford. He spoke to Building about Progress Network, a network group for young engineers that has been set up by the Association of Consulting Engineers.

What is Progress Network?
It is the business-focused young engineers' group ACE has set up for construction professionals aged under 35 from member and non-member firms, and is an influential collection of opinion-formers acting as a vehicle for the aspirations of the future leaders of our industry. The network was set up about 18 months ago as part of the ACE's Engineering the Future campaign. It currently has over 200 members in the south-east of England. It was established in Scotland in January 2002 and will be rolled out across the rest of the UK in the next six to 12 months.

What are its objectives?
The members of the network have identified three core objectives: to provide networking opportunities for its members; offer advanced business skills training; and to promote engineering as a profession. We are determined to make engineering professionals equals among their peers in the wider business world so that we have the opportunity to demonstrate our full value to our clients.

How does it work?
The network is managed by a team of seven engineers from different engineering backgrounds, along with support from the ACE. Membership is free and anyone can attend any of the Progress events.

We are determined to make engineering professionals equals among their peers in the wider business world

What activities do you run?
So far we have run three brainstorming sessions to establish the needs of our members. We have also held two business seminars that for example examine how engineering companies can learn from other sectors in the industry to brand their services better. These seminars aim to help engineers tackle the management issues we don't tend to receive much training in. We also run monthly networking events in London. So far most events have taken place at the ACE in London. But we are planning to expand our programmes across the UK.

What future events are you planning?
Future seminars will cover business finance and accounting; project management; customer relations, marketing and PR. As we are by nature an insular industry, we are proposing to bring in guest speakers from outside construction. This should help engineers better understand the clients we work for.