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Hands on learning

In response to David Grahame's question (NCE last week) as to what kind of engineer Professor Nethercot hopes to produce, I can assure him that from this year's graduates of Imperial College, a sizeable number of us have entered the world of contracting.

Indeed, I was surprised and perplexed at the response given by my former head of department since, during my time at university, the department had developed the Constructionarium concept as a result of being criticised for a lack of practical learning.

I agree that to become chartered, engineers should spend some time on site. In fact, I have stated in the past (NCE 28 July) that practical experience is the best way to learn how things are actually constructed.

By understanding how structures are built, we are able to design things that are safer to construct and offer better value for money.

While it is true that a degree from Imperial remains a very theoretical option, many students choose summer placements with contractors, and many, like myself, have gone on to work for Britain's biggest companies.

Martin Stanley (G) martin.

e. stanley@gmail. com

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