In response to Peter Buckley's letter (NCE last week) on reducing the length of civil engineering degrees, I think he is mistaken. I am also a QUEST scholar and consider the fact that I am doing an MEng degree to be a very good thing.
I have spent over 14 months of site-based working with a contractor and I find that the things I learn at university help me understand and work through problems much more effi ciently.
The reason we should do the fourth year, however, is to extend the civil engineering community's knowledge base and to prove to employers that we are capable of going that extra mile which other students are not.
Just because the industry is short on engineers, we should not make it easier to become chartered. This would undermine the purpose and credibility of the ICE, and the quality of chartered engineers in the industry would slip. Rather than making it easier to become an engineer, more support should be given to those students with the potential to go far and achieve what is required of them.
As a QUEST scholar, I see first hand how the ICE is already doing this.
Anthony Buckley-Thorp, 2nd Year undergraduate, civil and environmental engineering department, Imperial College London, SW7 2AZ