What exactly is a civil engineer?

Following what was the apparently entertaining broadcast this week of “Masterchef: The Professionals” from the HQ of the Institution of Civil Engineers in London, a number of people have asked me “what exactly is a civil engineer?”
The stock response about “…the art of directing the great sources of power in nature”, hasn’t been going down very well. So rather than Tredgold’s words from 1828, I’ve been quoting a more recent, very wise man, “A civil engineer is a person who solves problems you did not know you had, using methods you don’t understand”.
Perhaps surprisingly, most people seem to get it.

The UK Construction Skills Shortage

Many suspect that there is an imminent skill shortage in the UK construction industry but it’s discussed only infrequently.

It was therefore encouraging to see the publication this week of a detailed and extensive report from Arcadis, whose conclusions included,

“Britain must recruit over 400,000 people each year to deliver in line with housing and infrastructure need, equivalent of one person every 77 seconds”

Lets hope that this prompts a wider debate, within the industry and associated professions, with respect to education and training and that it places in context the contention that immigration should be reduced.


To view the Arcadis report see,