MAKING YOUNG people aware of civil engineering as a career of opportunity was the clarion call of Sir Alan Cockshaw during his visit to the South Wales association last week.
'We need to talk to young people when they are 13 and 14 about this profession of ours, because most leave schooln without any concept of what it is to be a civil engineer,' he said.
Cockshaw applauded South Wales Association's sixth form engineering team challenge - the Yes Event, but urged them to get even more involved in careers advice to school children.
Informing careers advisers and university staff of the full range of opportunities in civil engineering was another urgent need, said Cockshaw.
'Some careers advisers and university staff aren't aware of the opportunities in civil engineering. They think you either become a designer or a contractor.
'The truth is there is a huge range of activities. Engineers can quickly rise to a senior management position. I met a young civil engineer recently, who was managing a field for BP. Civil engineering has an image of being a narrow career path and we've got to change that.'
The media was a key tool to communicate an upbeat message that civil engineering is alive and well and not endangered by reduced road- building, said Cockshaw.
'We must put people forward who are media friendly. If someone does not come across well in front of the camera or microphone, they will not be asked back.'
Cockshaw's initiative to meet with local association chairmen four times a year and introduce free student membership was very well received at the meeting followed by a buffet dinner.