There has been much discussion in recent issues of NCE about the shortfall of entrants into the profession. Despite raising the pay levels of graduates, we still see declining numbers both starting university degree courses in civil engineering and - perhaps more worryingly - going on to work in the industry.
What is going wrong? The answer is not, of course, simple and many factors are involved.
But we need a culture shift through the industry, so that we actually value the contribution that we make and are happy to tell our clients of the value civil engineers bring to projects. We then must charge rates appropriate for first class staff.
If we do this, the morale difficulties will disappear, and society in general will start to see the profession as making a valuable contribution to society. Competition to join degree courses would increase and the retention of graduates in the industry increase to sensible levels.
Government may at last be aware that doing nothing about meeting transportation demands is shortsighted. But we need to maintain the pressure on our MPs so that the Treasury's recidivist tendencies are kept fully in check and we can start to create the infrastructure needed for the 21st century.
A better workload will create better public recognition and resolve the recruitment crisis - but it won't happen overnight!
Stewart Rotherham (M), 23 Feniton Gardens, Feniton, Honiton, Devon EX14 3DG