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Scholar and ties

Letters

Antony Oliver's Comment (NCE 18 September) is right on the ball, particularly the last paragraph about spending time and money underpinning the professions' future.

The ICE is very concerned that not enough high quality students are choosing civil engineering careers and the President sees the ICE Queen's Jubilee Scholarship Trust (QUEST) as a vehicle to help alter the situation.

However our original campaign to raise £5M set off in the wrong direction (NCE 14 November 2002). We believed at the time that employers would be willing to make capital donations - as they had in 1977 when QUEST was established - to be invested and the income used to fund 100 scholarships.

Discussions since then with major employers, plus group meetings with ICE members indicated that this model was not appropriate.

As a result we have now devised a partnership model where the employer and the ICE jointly fund the scholarships - a win situation for all concerned.

Students benefit because there are more, higher quality, scholarships available.

Employers benefit by being able to interview and select high quality students. The ICE benefits because QUEST funds can be used more efficiently and relationships are formed between the scholars and the ICE which will continue into their working life. The result is that more high quality graduates enter the profession.

Last week the QUEST Committee and employer representatives spent a day interviewing short listed applicants so that 26 entirely new scholarships created through the new partnership initiative could be awarded in addition to scholarships fully funded by QUEST.

Brian Crossley, chairman QUEST committee, One Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AA

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