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ICE aims to reduce pressure on graduates

FEWER CORE engineering skills should be demanded from graduate civil engineers before sitting the professional review, according to ICE chief executive Mike Casebourne.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Institution's Graduates and Students National Committee this week, Casebourne said that reducing the demands on graduates was one option being considered in its plans to lower the average age engineers become Chartered.

'It's unrealistic to expect people to satisfy all 23 core objectives in a short time,' he said. 'We are going to have to look into making some of them optional. We might end up asking candidates to satisfy half of them and show the potential to satisfy the other half over the next few years.

But he warned against a two- tier system in which outstanding engineers would be fast-tracked quickly to Chartered Membership. He preferred a system which speeded up the process for everyone and that would maintain 'robust standards' (NCE last week).

Casebourne's comments came after last week's announcement of a new taskforce to recommend how the 'horrendous' average age of 30 for becoming Chartered could be lowered.

Casebourne added that addressing misconceptions among young engineers, such as the need for site experience or to have worked in a design office, had also contributed and had to be changed.

'There are some people who fail in their own mind before they get to the Corporate Professional Review,' he said.

Casebourne confirmed that ICE Vice President Mark Whitby would chair the new taskforce and was currently gathering his team together.

The process would involve ICE Members and a special Civil Engineering Education & Training Group, representing contractors and consultants.

'We need to find out the thinking of the people on the boards of these companies rather than the personnel people,' he added.

Damian Arnold

damiana@construct.emap.co.uk

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