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Ageing disgracefully

Letters to the editor

Well done NCE for listening to the Graduate and Student Members of the ICE (NCE 25 February). Thank you for highlighting the large degree of disillusionment with the Institution. It seems amazing that the people at the top are so complacent at the low numbers of civil engineers attempting to become Members.

A figure of 14% is really surprising when in my generation (MICE 1973) perhaps 60% must have been the norm for graduates. Even if the newly encouraged Incorporated status is made a success it could be years before 14% rises to above 20%. Meanwhile a SARTOR Member figure of around 5% looks more likely to me!

The responses in NCE on 4 March seem just to accept a poor future situation. One says there could be a dogfight over the few graduates of SARTOR standard. A contractor says only 10% of graduates choose to become Chartered anyway.

Surely now is the time for our leaders to listen to those graduates and students. Or must it always be a case of 'banging your head against a brick wall' as one ex-member of the Graduates and Students National Committee told me recently? Must we really be an ageing profession?

The suggestion that firms identify their graduate intake earlier (in schools) is unlikely to be cost-effective bearing in mind the professor's true statement that 'a lot of (good engineering) graduates are lost to banking and accountancy' (NCE 4 March).

Tim Fawdry (M), Maranatha, Northey Ave, Sutton SM2 7HJ.

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