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Off the chartered course

Letters

I am puzzled by the article commending the efforts of universities to produce more chartered engineers (The flying squad, NCE 8 September). I thought we had all agreed that there are enough chartered people at present and projected, but that the real concern is the shortage of technicians.

It is eight years since the Cawthra report emphasised the need to promote the technician grades and the neglect was identified many years before that. Yet few professional bodies have taken any action, with ICE spectacularly leading the defaulters.

For example, if school careers advisors seek material about careers they will receive nothing about technicians.

The issue is confused because of the misconception about government policy.

The object is for 50% of the population to enter higher education, not just university.

This is crucial for technicians because HE includes proven and valued courses such as ONC/HNC, which are ideal to produce incorporated engineers.

However, these courses are withering because of the overvaluation of degree courses leading to more chartered engineers destined to be employed as technicians.

I look in vain for some recognition that the present ill-considered policy will merely lead to a severely unbalanced work force.

Jim Haude (F), 17 Breamwater Gardens, Ham, Richmond, Surrey

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