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Campaign to promote engineering axed

NEWS

A NATIONAL advertising campaign to promote the engineering profession has been cancelled because the Engineering Council has failed to raise the £3M to £5M needed to pay for it, NCE learned this week.

An EngC source told NCE that the much heralded campaign in partnership with the Engineering Employers Federation and the Engineering Marine Training Authority had been pulled because the profession was not prepared to contribute financially. The campaign, to be developed by advertising firm J Walter Thompson, had originally been expected to hit television and cinema screens earlier this year.

The ditched campaign had hinged on industry topping up a £1M investment from the campaign partners and money pledged by the Department of Trade & Industry.

The EngC source said: 'The campaign regrettably couldn't go ahead because of a lack of support from an industry that wasn't prepared to cough up the money. The message we got back was that 2000 was going to be an extremely crowded year in terms of Millennium related initiatives and that it was not appropriate to support an advertising campaign at this time.'

The clash with 'Millennium related initiatives' had not been anticipated by the EngC when work on the campaign began, but it became an issue after the timetable was delayed.

The announcement has sparked anger from civil engineering academics who had been expecting a campaign to bolster applications to civil engineering degrees which continue to fall. Earlier this year, the universities admission service UCAS reported that applications to civil engineering courses were already 11% down on last year.

Portsmouth University head of civil engineering Brian Lee said: 'This is a big blow which strikes at the very heart of the changes we have made to our courses to comply with the Sartor education reforms. A major image building exercise aimed at the 12-16 age group is needed. Fifty per cent of sixth formers used to do A level maths. Now the whole engineering and science world is hunting from a 6% pool.'

He added: 'If there aren't enough engineering graduates, UK firms will be less able to bid for really big international jobs because of manpower shortages.'

An EngC spokesperson said that discussions would take place soon to resurrect the campaign.

damiana@construct.emap.co.uk

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