Chinese and UK engineering companies agree to skills exchange

Engineering bodies from China and the UK have signed a deal that will allow employees from each other’s companies to take part in an exchange scheme. The programme is intended to give the engineers insights into how their counterparts go about designing and building infrastructure.

The Employee Exchange Scheme was signed by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the China International Contractors Association (CHINCA) at a business event in China today.

The co-operation agreement builds on a memorandum of understanding signed by the ICE and CHINCA in December 2013. It was witnessed by Chancellor George Osborne and Lord O’Neil, commercial secretary to the Treasury.

UK engineering consultant Mott MacDonald will be the first to play host: an employee from the China Railway Construction Company (CRCC) will begin a three-month placement at its Manchester office in October.

It plans to place other Chinese employees in its UK offices and is exploring opportunities to send staff to work in China.

Mott MacDonald and CRCC also agreed to co-operate on future projects.

Nick Baveystock, the director-general of the ICE, said: "China’s interest in UK infrastructure reflects the strength of the UK market. China also has a huge infrastructure programme and high demand for engineering expertise, which UK engineers are keen to support."

Wang He, the vice chairman of CHINCA, added: "Economic and trade co-operation between China and Britain has been continuously enhanced over recent years, and the co-operation in the infrastructure and energy sectors plays an important role in that.

"We hope companies can achieve all-round collaboration in technology, management and commerce sectors based on this scheme, and develop the infrastructure investment and construction opportunities together in each other’s country and third-country markets."

Osborne is on a five-day trade mission to China in which he is encouraging Chinese companies to fund the UK’s High-Speed 2 line, UK property schemes and projects in the north of England.

Image: ICE director-general Nick Baveystock at the signing ceremony alongside UK chancellor George Osborne (ICE)

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