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Further drop in students taking civils degrees

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THE NUMBER of students accepting places on civil engineering courses has fallen by almost 7%, marking a continuing decline.

And a separate survey reveals that over a third of UK universities are experiencing 'critical problems' recruiting civil engineering lecturers.

Preliminary figures from the University & Colleges Admissions Service show that 1,880 students accepted offers of places on civil engineering degree courses, a drop of 6.9% from last year's 2,019. Building and construction courses saw a 3.5% fall.

The drop contrasts with a rise of 5.5% across all degrees. Computer systems engineering showed rises of 45.2% to 1,615, while journalism rose by 26%.

The figures mean civil engineering applications have fallen by around 50% since 1995.

The crisis in civil engineering education was further highlighted by a survey carried out by the Queen's University Belfast dean of engineering and ICE vice president Professor Adrian Long.

Out of 31 universities, 45% said they had 'critical problems' recruiting professors and 35% are having the same difficulty recruiting readers and lecturers.

Of the universities which had actually recruited civil engineering academics in the past three years, 71% had 'critical problems' recruiting professors, 50% in recruiting readers and senior lecturers, and 45% in employing lecturers.

Poor pay and working conditions compared to the rest of industry and a lack of post graduate research leading to suitable candidates for academic posts are highlighted as causes of the crisis.

The survey, which involved the other engineering institutions, urges actions by government, universities and professional bodies.

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