Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Finance Committee Meeting; Executive Committee Meeting

We had our last Finance and Executive Committee meetings of 2009 this afternoon at Clyde Road.

At our Finance meeting,  we were pleasantly surprised that our projections for the full year now appear that we will make a small profit,  rather than the break even position which had earlier been predicted.   While the year has yet to finish,  there has been very careful management of costs,  together with slightly better incomes than predicted from both corporate supporters and membership revenues.

We also are in the process of reviewing our "group schemes" by which our membership can benefit from reduced fees and costs from third party suppliers,  such as insurers,  retailers,  banks and so on.   We hope we may be able to bring some further such benefits to Members early in 2010,  subject to the outcome of some further due diligence work which we are carrying out.

We are also intending to offer additional incentives to our Members for CPD training in 2010 to celebrate our 175th anniversary.   Finally,  we are also reviewing the contributions to our Benevolent Fund,  and the Finance Committee may bring some suggestions to Executive and Council in this respect in due course.

Our Executive meeting followed.

In the report from the Director General,  John Power,  we noted the two highly successful and very high quality Forums we have held,  on Energy and on the Construction Sector (both are available for playback on Engineers TV).   We also noted the re-launch of the Chemical Division,  with a new leadership team.   Finally,  the meeting with the heads of the Engineering Schools of the Higher Education Institutes had also been long overdue,  and the process of a deeper engagement with these schools will continue.

Brian Kavanagh then reported on behalf of the Finance Committee,  to the Executive on the meeting which it had just held.

We deferred our next item,  an update from our Taskforce on Education of Mathematics and Science,  until the end of the meeting,  so as to create sufficient time for its presentation and discussion.

John Power,  and Jim Robinson,  then updated us on the plans for the 2010 Annual Conference in Cork in April, which are proceeding very well.

We had had a note of thanks from Vietnam for the honorary fellowship which we had recently awarded to their Deputy Prime Minister.   We have an invitation from the Oireachtais Committee on Education and Science to present our deliberations,  from our own Taskforce,  in due course.

PJ Rudden,  as Taskforce Chair,  then presented in reasonable detail the status of the work of the Taskforce since its inception at our September meeting to study the teaching of mathematics in our schools,  as a prerequisite to Engineering courses,  and to make recommendations to Government accordingly.   The work has turned out to be considerably more complex than first anticipated,   but it appears clear that there are some fundamental and deep issues which reach right back into the Primary school system.   The "Project Maths" initiative does not appear to be proceeding as smoothly as many had hoped.   PJ expects to be able to provide a complete report,  with recommendations,  to the Executive in early 2010.    A vigourous discussion ensued,  with a number of observations which are being fed into the Taskforce process.

The meeting then concluded.

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