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Benchmark degree is nothing new to those in the know

I was interested to read that Liverpool University has launched a 'benchmark' degree, the multi-disciplinary nature of which means that students of civil, aerospace, materials and mechanical engineering take courses together before specialising (NCE 14 February).
Seventy years ago, when I started at Liverpool University, most first year lectures were attended by budding metallurgists, naval architects, civil, mechanical and electrical engineers.

No-one told us that we were on a multi-disciplinary course. The only bench marks that we knew about were the ones on the University building and at the bottom of Brownlow Hill on the Adelphi Hotel, and between those two we cut our teeth on levelling.

We did laboratory work in hydraulics, strength of materials, mechanical and electrical engineering, for which we had to wear white overalls, the mark of the professional engineer, but no eye shields or ear muffs. Plus ça change.

FRED BETTESS (F) 2 Waleric House, Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, Northumberland, NE66 2RS.

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