Holding up well despite economic fluctuations seems to be training in specific, technical subjects. Leeds University's department of fuel and energy has been delivering specialist courses in fire and environmental engineering for the last 15 years, and has seen consistently high numbers of applicants.
The department has an annual programme that includes industrial air pollution monitoring, fire safety design and fire safety management and risk assessment.
It recently launched a new course on fire and safety law, and is offering economics of fire protection as a distance learning package.
Although most courses last between two and five days, modules can be used towards gaining one of the university's new range of MScs, which can be studied full or part-time.
Options include MScs in environmental pollution control, combustion and energy and fire and explosion.
One of the most popular short courses is fire dynamics and modelling, which teaches general combustion and engineering principles, helps engineers understand the way fires spread and enables them to apply these concepts to fire protection design.
It is aimed at anybody involved in the design and operation of buildings (including architects and civil and chemical engineers) and in the design of both passive and active protection systems. It is also popular with those responsible for building and plant safety on a day to day basis, regulators and advisers, such as local authorities and consultants, and fire-fighting professionals.
INFOPLUS www. leeds. ac. uk/fuel/shortc/ sc. htm