Employers in the water sector are looking for design engineers to tackle work coming up under the 2005-10 spending round.
'Demand is up all over the country, ' says Matt Woodall, consultant at recruitment agency Beresford Blake Thomas (BBT).
'Consultants in particular are looking for designers - people who can tackle work on water networks. We are also seeing some regional trends - currently BBT is recruiting most heavily for designers and modelling engineers in East Anglia, the south east and Yorkshire.' And for the first time water companies themselves are also looking for engineers to carry out feasibility and design work, Woodall adds, particularly Thames, Severn Trent and Wessex Water. These firms have taken part of their work in house after restructuring for new work (see feature, p22).
Although the emphasis is on chartered civil engineers with reasonable levels of experience - 'anything from 18 months design work to 10 years' - they are also looking for drawing technicians and people with experience CAD, Woodall says.
Consultants and clients alike are still fairly choosy, 'because it is still quite early in the five year cycle', preferring experience in the industry.
In two or three years time, based on past asset management programme experience, Woodall predicts a surge in demand for engineers, opening the market to a broader cross-section of recruits.
Most places will be permanent as consultants and companies build new contract teams, but there is also some demand for freelances on shorter contracts.
Demand for site engineers is slower but BBT expects it to pick up as work starts on site, says Woodall.