Civil engineers target higher profile

The incoming president of the Institution of Civil Engineers has thought up a novel way of boosting the flagging number of young people entering the profession.

Gordon Masterton, who took office last week, plans to personally underwrite an annual £10,000 competition for scriptwriters and authors. To win the booty, they must create a television drama, radio play, literary work or comic strip featuring a civil engineer as a leading character.

"It still amazes me that the public does not realise the importance of the role that civil engineers play in society. If either of the Ross or Rachel characters in Friends had been a civil engineer, I have no doubt we would be attracting more applicants into our profession," laments Masterton.

With town planning facing similar recruitment problems, maybe planners could pen some titles to highlight their own role. Diary suggests Nimby Neighbours, Little House on the Green Belt and Affordable Home and Away could do for starters.


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