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Skills crisis forces civils onto technical work only

ENGINEERS ARE being stripped of non-engineering tasks and put onto exclusively technical work to fight skills shortages.

Civil engineers' roles are being refocused as consultants prepare for an upsurge of work after last month's £8.4bn local transport settlement that prompted fears of an engineering skills shortage.

Consultants who spoke to NCE this week said they were reorganising their staff so that engineers could be dedicated solely to engineering tasks. They are recruiting non-engineers to concentrate on administration and report writing.

'We are getting more support to the engineers so they can be freed up and be more effective as engineers, ' said Mott McDonald director John Henderson.

With civil engineers in greater demand and fewer engineers graduating, others warned that disciplines which have traditionally involved chartered engineers would increasingly be dominated by non-engineers.

There would be fewer civil engineers in 'softer' areas like public consultation, road safety engineering, traffic impact assessment, data collection and safe routes to school, said Mouchel's roads director John Amos.

'Consultants will get people with good communication skills so that engineers will be freed up to work on things like bridge assessments, ' he said.

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