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EngC seeks funds to boost engineering's profile

THE ENGINEERING Council has urged engineering companies to put its money where its mouth is by contributing to a 5M advertising campaign aimed at raising the profile of engineering.

The viability of the campaign - which will include cinema and TV advertising - hinges on financial contributions from industry. But after presentations to 30 engineering-led companies, no money has yet been pledged.

Advertising company J Walter Thompson has been appointed to carry out the development phase of the project.

The ICE is among the organisations that have so far voiced support for the campaign, but declined to pledge any money. Council heard in June that the ICE was not prepared to contribute to the campaign by levying a 10 charge on each of its members.

The initiative was originally planned for this autumn and is supposed to be part of a strategic drive which needed to be carefully co-ordinated with other institutions. But the EngC and its partners - the Engineering Employers Federation and the Engineering Marine Training Authority - cannot now name a date for the launch.

Explaining the slow moving process, EngC spokesman Tony Miller said: 'This is a major project which can't be rushed. The campaign won't be starting early in the new year as expected. The most certain we can be is that it will be some time next year.'

The delay has alarmed civil engineering heads of department, who are anxious to promote interest in Incorporated Engineering degrees. IEng degrees will replace Chartered Engineer courses from the autumn of 1999 at some universities under new SARTOR rules (NCE 5 November).

Head of civil engineering at Portsmouth University Professor Brian Lee said: 'Frankly any campaign that happens in the new year will be too late. The enrolment system for universities takes place from 1 September to January and this is the key time to market the profession to young people.'

Civil engineering departments were already looking towards 'radical alternatives' to IEng courses rather than waiting for the EC campaign to materialise, said Lee.

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