Further to Bob Wilson's letter (NCE 5 February), I would have thought that the Institution could consider updating a form of 'vocational' training route to some sort of qualification that would be recognised by the industry.
In my experience many very good practical engineers emerged from this, albeit long, training course with day release and evening classes. It also had the advantage of giving trainee engineers early experience of man management.
This could be a way to attract young people into civil engineering and tackle the skills shortage with engineers who have a more practical background.
Surely such a scheme could be established and would still fall within the government's objective of 50% of young people proceeding to further education. It would also avoid students getting involved in 'tuition' and 'top-up' fees and ending up with considerable debt when they leave university.
PG Payne MBE (M), 39 Beatrice Avenue, Felixstowe, Suffolk. IP11 9HB