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MPs join skills debate


ENGINEERS are being urged to join key members of government and academia in debating the future of civil engineering at a special meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors in Worcester this week.

The meeting is an opportunity for engineers to hear from key speakers in government, academia, professional bodies and contracting, and to contribute to the development of future policy.

Moderated by the ICES education and training committee chairman Robin Jones, speakers include Claire-Curtis Thomas MP. Curtis Thomas is a chartered engineer with substantial involvement in the promotion of education in Science, Engineering and Technology and is an outspoken advocate for construction.

Other speakers include Nuttall recruitment manager Bob Devonshire who will set out the industry's needs, and Nottingham Trent University Dean of the School of Property and Construction Professor Roger Hawkins, who will explain how academia will provide them.

The ICES, which represents both engineering surveyors and commercial managers in civil engineering, has a close working relationship with the ICE in areas of common interest, and tackling the skills shortage is one such area.

The acute skills shortages in civil engineering surveying epitomises the crisis currently facing UK civil engineering, with universities reporting 100% uptake and rising salary prospects for those graduating today, while intake of new students is at worryingly low levels.

And, in a depressingly familiar pattern, recent predictions are that the existing skills 'pool' will drop by 40% in the next 5 years.

The ICES urges engineers with a view on the issue to attend the free debate, which takes place on Wednesday 24 April at Worcester County Hall.

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