The Gibraltar Group of Professional Engineers is co-sponsored by the IET, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) and has been active since 1958 when it was constituted by Captain John Garth Watson RN.
The Group’s Treasurer, Xavier Pons, was in charge of organising a series of events to mark this anniversary celebration.
Celebratory activities included engaging with local school students, who took part in an essay, poster and model-making competition on the topic of engineering. The Hon. Professor John Cortes, Minister for Heritage, Education and Energy handed out the prizes.
On 11 July 2018 the Presidents from the three sponsoring Institutions delivered a series of Presidential talks at Kings Chapel. IET President Mike Carr opened the event and congratulated the group on their historic anniversary.
Mike said: “Our vision is to engineer a better world and our mission is to inspire and inform the next generation of engineers. We can see these ambitions shared by the Gibraltar group. We both want to improve the quality of life around us.”
Lord Robert Mair (ICE) and John Wood (IMechE) also delivered speeches and the celebrations concluded with a dinner in the Mons Calpe Suite located at the very top of the Rock of Gibraltar. GGPE members were joined by His Excellency The Governor Lieutenant General Edward Davis and the Minister for Culture, Hon. Steven Linares MP.
The Chief Minister of Gibraltar the Hon. Fabian R Picardo QC, MP hosted a separate morning reception where he cut a commemorative cake and emphasised his support for young people in choosing engineering as a career, given the importance of the profession to the continuing development of Gibraltar.
Speaking about the festivities, Xavier, who has served on the Committee since 1972 and will soon be retiring, said: “The celebrations helped to rally local engineers together and more importantly, because of the quality of the VIPs attending, drew wide interest in the community. The involvement of schools was also instrumental in bringing engineering to future generations - more needs to be done in this field.
“After my long involvement with the Group, this anniversary celebration was the pinnacle achievement. I have always been at the forefront of organising all major events, there are many but the Engineering Week in 1994, The Symposium entitled “Energy beyond 2040”, in 2010 and the visits by IEE / IET Presidents, stand out.
“We celebrated our AGM on the 21 November 2018 at which all the “old guard” stepped down allowing the youth to take over but assuring them they can count on us for any assistance and information. I am very hopeful that the new committee will stride forward with new ideas and infusing students to take up STEM subjects.”