As a student halfway through my first year at Nottingham and a QUEST scholar, the thought of four years of debt is daunting. However, the wealth of knowledge learnt working as a site engineer on the Docklands Light Railway Extension during my gap year was immense.
The compulsory fourth year of the MEng degree needed to become a chartered engineer seems backwards for an industry trying to increase the number of enthusiastic graduate engineers. The educational base of chartership is very important but a year in the industry is far more broadly educational.
A one year, big dissertation on a tiny area of civil engineering does not seem very relevant to a career as an engineer unless one is seeking to specialise. This fourth year puts many potential students off the idea of working in the industry.
Experience and skills learnt through practice are essential to solving problems on a day to day basis. This move to four year degrees must be returned to three.
Peter Buckley, Lincoln Hall, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, NG7 2QU.