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The future's bright, but there's still much more to do

The efforts of all concerned in raising the profile and attracting new entrants into the sector must be commended.

The ongoing skills crisis will not be solved simply by increasing the numbers of newly trained professionals entering the industry; the issue of retention must also be addressed. The mathematical, analytical and project management skills that civil engineering graduates possess are viewed with high regard by competing sectors.

Banks, lawyers, management consultancies and our international colleagues, among others, are proving to be highly successful in luring the industry's potential future leaders into alternative career paths, or to work abroad.

The heat is on to keep talent in the civil engineering ranks in the UK. Greater investment is required by all within the industry to help develop more attractive career paths that extend way beyond those early post-qualified years.

As much energy must be devoted to stemming the haemorrhage of workers to alternative careers as has been spent on encouraging graduates to choose civil engineering. Failure to do so will erode the current success of civil engineering graduate programmes, and will not have assisted the sector in moving on from the skills shortages that it is currently facing.

ANDY RIDOUT, director, Rail Engineering Resourcing Solutions,

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