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Time to break down barriers

Letters

The Graduates and Students National Committee is greatly dismayed by Mr Cox's thinly veiled attack (NCE 10 February) on comments made by ICE Vice President Mr Mark Whitby (NCE 13 January).

The GSNC is broadly supportive of Mr Whitby's remarks and his modernising instincts. His comments do not suggest to us a lowering of standards. On the contrary, they are about making the training process more relevant and adaptable to the needs of an ever changing market place. Furthermore, they advocate the removal of unnecessary and outdated obstacles, thus promoting the arrival of young, high quality corporate members of the ICE, to represent the Profession, earlier in their careers.

Today's civil engineering profession is very different to that which existed when Mr Cox qualified - no disrespect intended. A candidate for Review should, among other attributes, exhibit good management skills, technical flexibility, familiarity with current information technology and an acute awareness of financial matters.

If we must jump through hoops, let's ensure that they are set at an appropriate level and relate to the qualities required of civil engineers in the 21st century. The Review criterion is, after all, vital to the credibility of the ICE as a qualifying body. The Institution cannot afford to be complacent about attracting new members or retaining existing ones. After all, there are plenty of other such bodies out there that would be quite happy to recruit civil engineers, whether the ICE likes it or not.

The GSNC has noted a marked and positive change in the signals coming from the upper echelons of Great George Street during the last 12 months. New faces in senior positions appear to be intent on dragging the ICE into the 21st century, to the ultimate benefit of the Institution, its members and the profession as a whole.

Stephen Larkin (M) honorary secretary GSNC, Una McQuaid (M) vice chairman GSNC

Nottingham NG10 5PG

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