CIVIL ENGINEERING students must learn the fundamentals of engineering at university rather than simply being taught to design with codes of practice, delegates at the ICE annual conference heard this week.
In his keynote address to the conference, Cambridge university head of civil engineering Robert Mair said practical examples of what can go wrong in engineering were also vital to bring reality to a complex teaching process.
'The highest priority in their education is gaining the fundamental knowledge of applied mechanics, ' said Mair.
'Too much emphasis on codes of practice and regulation is not helpful in education as it can quickly be picked up later.'
Mair said that it was important for the industry to work alongside universities to ensure that young engineers are enthused by real civil engineering examples.
But they must also gain an understanding of other important issues such as management and communication.
'The challenges for young civil engineers are greater than ever before, ' said Mair. 'Inspirational leadership remains the hallmark of the educational process, leadership provided by a partnership between academics and industry.'