I was interested to read your article 'Contractors reflect the skills gloom' (NCE 21 February) stating that 80% of contractors are struggling to attract graduates. How do they expect to attract the few graduates that are coming out of universities when they practically ignore them as undergraduates?
In my experience, it is extremely difficult for undergraduates to get work experience with civil engineering companies during their vacations. I am a third year student studying for an MEng in civil engineering at Sheffield University and have applied for work experience each summer, but rarely even receive replies from companies contacted.
I did manage to get work experience last year with a large consultancy but this was the only company to reply from over 15 applications.
For the coming summer, I want to gain some site experience so I applied to 12 major contractors early this year. So far, I have received just one reply.
If companies are unwilling to provide experience to the graduates of the near future, it is little wonder that these same people don't look for a career in civil engineering.
Jonathan Richardson, cia99jr@sheffield. ac. uk