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An encouraging turnout at the Committee meeting in Dubai

An encouraging turnout at the Committee meeting in Dubai

04 June 2018

The 23rd April saw the Committee host its annual meeting during the WTC in Dubai. As was the case last year, in addition to inviting official members, the invitation was also extended to the Committee’s numerous regional correspondents around the globe. These correspondents, whilst not official Committee members, have established strong relations with ITA-CET through collaboration on the organization of training events.

The meeting provided a chance to look at the past year’s achievements, discuss future goals and raise issues of concern/interest to specific members. In total the meeting gathered 22 participants, comprising Committee members and regional correspondents from 14 different countries. This encouraging turnout is an indicator of the willingness of ITA Member Nations to continue to work on training and education actions.

The meeting kicked off with a look at the current Committee membership, which has remained stable over the last year, with 47 official members, from both academic and industry backgrounds.

The Committee action plan was then briefly presented to the attendees by Chairman Robert Galler, with specific actions discussed in detail during a presentation of the ongoing work of the four Activity Groups.

The Committee’s Vice Chairman, Michel Deffayet, provided a reminder of the 8 training sessions held since the previous Committee meeting, in 7 different countries (Argentina, Chile, UAE, China, France, Nigeria and Bhutan). These events have enabled over 800 young professionals to benefit from the expertise of carefully selected international lecturers.  With the valuable help of these lecturers, ITA-CET intends to establish a bibliography of reference documents, providing young professionals with suggested useful reading material.

The Vice Chairman went on to explain that the Committee hopes to develop training actions with ITA members from Africa and India. A training session on Underground Space Use held in Nigeria in March within the scope of the TAN Conference 2018 has paved the way for further collaboration with the country’s tunnelling association, as Abidemi Agwor explains in the article on page 6 of this newsletter. During the WTC training session in Dubai, participants from Kenya also expressed interest in developing training actions.

Committee actions regarding training and education in industry were presented by Michael Kompatscher (Activity Group 2), who spoke of the difficulties encountered in mobilizing interest from major companies, who for the most part already have their own training centres for blue collar workers. With regard to training for white collar workers, a recent course on the use of fibre-reinforced concrete organized by ITA-CET at the request of Bekaert Maccaferri, shows that there is a demand for training on highly technical and specific topics, as long as such courses provide a good mix of non-biased presentations from both industry and ITA representatives.

Georg Anagnostou (Activity Group 3) presented the private Linkedin Group recently set up for members of the Committee’s University Network. University members present at the Committee meeting who had not already joined this group were invited to do so and to post information that may be of interest to others (teaching methods, requests for guest lecturers, specific initiatives conducted by a university, advertisement of professor vacancies, student exchanges etc).

Other Committee activities related to the University network include the examination of requests for the ITA endorsement of Master courses in tunnelling and underground space use. During this Committee meeting in Dubai, representatives from AMITOS (the tunnelling association of Mexico) issued a formal request for official ITA endorsement of the Master‘s which runs at UNAM (Autonomous National University of Mexico). Having closely examined the information regarding this course, the Committee approved this request. Details on this course can be found in our article overleaf.

After discussions on various other topics (next year’s training course at the WTC, how to become an ITA-CET lecturer, use of social media by the Committee, the meeting rounded off with a group photo (see above). Sincere thanks to all our ITA colleagues who attended.