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People skills demanded

Graduates and students have claimed a course in 'people skills' is glaringly absent from the professional meeting syllabuses of the ICE's local associations.

The national committee agreed at its annual conference to produce guidance to LAs on the kind of professional management skills they feel graduates need training in, along with details of how such courses could be organised. A national series of six or so courses could be run by graduates with relevant experience for recent graduates at relatively low cost, the committee claimed.

'Evening seminars in the Local Associations currently have a technical bias. There is not enough CPD training in things like team building or team leading,' said Glasgow and West of Scotland representative Susan Pickford.

The initiative was launched in response to a survey sent out by a GSNC think tank formed to look at the training needs of graduate engineers. Graduate respondents confirmed that training in professional management skills, in line with the requirements of the New Routes to Membership initiative, was not sufficiently covered in the regions.

Groups of delegates struck quickly to make up for the apparent training gap by participating in a team building exercise. Pickford said: 'Teams of four constructed a tower from coloured building blocks. Each team member was given an instruction card, which together with the other cards would provide the exact requirements. However, they were not allowed to show their card to anyone else. Neither were they allowed to have any form of oral or written communication. The results amounted to a great deal of frustration and some innovative body language.'

She continued: 'After some feedback on the experience, everyone agreed the importance of being able to communicate ideas and we hope delegates take back this enthusiasm to their LAs and employers.'

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