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Old age mention

Your feature on ageism gives an accurate picture of the problems which face a civil engineer who applies for paid employment after the age of 45. However, if the industry is to overcome this problem it is also necessary to consider the activities of many civil engineers, including myself, for whom the age of 45 is but a distant memory.

While there are some tasks which require someone who is closer to the age of maximum physical and mental agility, there are many tasks for which a youngster of 45 might well be considered too young and in need of further experience. For example, service as a dispute resolver, arbitrator or adjudicator, liaison with clients from cultures with a greater respect for age and wisdom, or work as an author or tutor on training courses.

You refer to a register of retired and semi-retired members looking for work, but what is also needed is a review of the tasks which could be carried out by engineers in their 50s, 60s and 70s.

The Institution, together with Thomas Telford Training, already provides structured training programmes for young engineers.

It would surely be a relatively easy matter for the ICE to provide the necessary courses for the over 45s.

Brian W. Totterdill (F), Chew Magna, btotterdill@aol. com

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