How to write your ICE Attribute evidences.
The ICE route to professional registration is for the most part driven by the content of your portfolio. Whether you are on a Training Scheme or apply via the Career Appraisal route, you will have to fill in pieces of evidence for each Attribute to get signed off.
One thing you will quickly discover is that the person who signs off your evidence – whether that be a Mentor, Delegated Engineer, Supervising Civil Engineer or a Membership Development Officer – does not have a lot of time to assist you. You will have to therefore make their life as easy as possible when writing up your evidence. (This advice is true at any stage of your career in any profession by the way!)
This page will give you tips on how to write your evidence in the appropriate manner, including an example. For the rest of this article, the term “reviewer” will mean anyone who signs off your IPD or your final Reviewers in your CEng Interview.
What counts as evidence?
Anything to which you have personally contributed or influenced counts. This can be:
- Marked drawings, with your original handwriting
- Photos, the more specific to a particular detail the better.
- Screenshots from websites
- Emails to or from colleagues
- Flyers for events that you co-ordinated. (Exclude those that you attended and did nothing else, as they are more relevant for Continuous Professional Development rather than Initial Professional Development)
How many items of evidence per Attribute?
For each competence level in each Attribute you should write between 3-6 items of evidence depending on the quality of each one. For Career Appraisal you are only trying to satisfy the Ability level so you will have 3-6 items in total. For Training scheme, since there are 3 competence levels in each Attribute then you will end up with 9-18 items. Try to include (annotated) pictures where possible, since this will make the evidence more vivid and easier to judge.
As your IPD draws to a close and nearly everything is being signed off to Ability level, most of your evidence will probably come from one or two key projects. This is perfectly acceptable and especially useful for your final Professional Report.
What are the constraints?
The ICE's online IPD system gives you only 2000 characters per evidence, approximately 300-400 words including spaces, so brevity is key.
Any uploads must be in PDF format with a 2MB limit. So for pictures and photos where the format is not PDF you will need to place them into a Word or Powerpoint file then save it as a PDF. The good part here is that you can use text boxes and arrows to annotate your illustrations.
The online system has an annoying timeout after 20 minutes, so our advice is to download the Attribute Achievement Form (.docx format) and type your evidence in there first, and then copy and paste it into the relevant box online. This way you also have a backup version in the correct format should the online system go wrong.
How should I write each evidence?
You MUST write in 1st person format. “I took charge of 10 people”, or “I co-ordinated the pouring of concrete” etc. Don't worry if every other sentence or paragraph seems to begin with “I”, as any ambiguity over who made key actions, such as “we decided to terminate the contract”, will stand out in your report and your reviewers will drill into these details.
Our suggestion is to use the STAR format – Situation, Task, Action, Result. This ensures that your reviewer can quickly see the context of your problem and what decisions you were responsible or accountable for.
So one evidence for “Management and Leadership” might end up in a style similar to the following fictional example:
Situation: I discovered that we were consistently receiving late payment reminders from different vendors over a period of a year.
Task: I initiated an investigation to find out why these delays were happening and what my department could do differently to keep our suppliers happy. In particular I wanted to understand the purchasing procedures and know what departments were involved from start to finish.
Action: I influenced the payment process by investigating the bottlenecks in the purchase authorisation procedure and communications between the Finance department and our Project team and found out that there was a bottleneck in the VAT documentation which was causing delays of 2 months at a time. This breached the 30 day payment term in the supplier contract. I searched previous instances of late payment and discovered this was a recurring theme in all delays.
Based on the research I wrote a computer program to electronically notify multiple parties instantly when the necessary approvals had been granted, and correctly balances the necessary tax calculations.
Result: In doing so I shortened the typical payment process from 3 months down to 3 weeks. I fed this information back to the finance department to further improve and streamline their processes. I also sought feedback from the suppliers to see whether they were happier with the changes, and the comments were unanimously positive.
The above example comes to 223 words and 1414 characters, including the paragraph headings. You could add in a few more sentences to give more detail about a specific action or difficulties you encountered, but the above level of detail would be sufficient for “Ability” level, and thus satisfactory for CEng.
The key to speed up your IPD process is to write one evidence such that it satisfies multiple Attributes. The example given above could have applied to Commercial Ability if you added in extra sentences on commercially relevant details, such as expenses, VAT and corporation tax, sources of cashflow etc.
The extra benefit to writing all the IPD evidences correctly, while satisfying multiple Attributes is that your Professional Report has a 5000 word limit. The better the quality of your evidence at the IPD stage, the more likely you can copy and paste large portions into your Professional Report to make your life easier. You will thank yourself!