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Beat route


Further to Bob Wilson's letter (NCE last week) about losing the HNC route to ICE membership, the Robbins Report shortly after WW2 encouraged the then government to expand the university system hugely.

The entirely predictable result was an equally huge expansion of 'newly minted' graduates, far more than the industry could absorb.

Faced with this, the Privy Council began to require a switch to 'graduate only' entry as a quid pro quo whenever a chartered institution wanted to amend its Royal Charter: hence the enforced departure from the traditional non-degree modes of entry.

Like Mr Wilson, I too 'worked days and studied nights' for my qualification - albeit for a night school degree from London University in 1950. I found that the 'better' engineering employees remained utterly unimpressed by my degree - until I pointed out that it had been gained 'the hard way', whereupon I was welcomed with open arms as 'one of us'.

In retrospect, the loss of prequalification experience was an unmitigated disaster for the profession but, alas, there is no going back. Indeed, the next round of governmental facesaving may well be pressure to accept any old Mickey Mouse degree.

G F Hawker (F), 1 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1DF

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