Budding engineers go to market

October 4, 1996

Richard Barry (Opinion, THES, September 20) argues that we should restrict the supply of engineering graduates by limiting access to degree courses to those who can display a very high level of ability (as far as can be measured by their A-level scores in mathematics and science) by the age of 18.

His prescription would deny educational opportunity to the many students who find a level of motivation in studying engineering that they have not found in the school curriculum.

More seriously, it would fail to meet industry's need for engineering graduates capable of occupying roles between the most talented research engineers at the pinnacle of the profession and the "skilled engineering craftsmen" (sic) to whom he refers.

Industry itself has long recognised the need to focus on the quality of output in any production system. The preoccupation of some academics with the quality of inputs (and just one aspect of this quality) demonstrates a regrettable reluctance to take a rigorous engineering approach.

John Bale Dean, Faculty of design and the built environment Gaynor Taylor Dean Faculty of information and engineering systems Leeds Metropolitan University

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