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Civil engineers need greater skill set, say ICE

A new report from the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) calls for a greater skill set among civil engineers.

Soft skills and digital skills are becoming increasingly important within civil engineering according to the report, with the findings looking at the latest trends in engineering practice and the impact this will have on professional skills needed for the future.

The review makes recommendations to civil engineers, employers, educators, professional bodies and policymakers on the development and qualification of the skills needed by the modern industry.

While practical knowledge and skills remain vitally important for civil engineers, technical skills, critical thinking and problem solving, together with the soft skills of leadership, management and communication are important to develop.

According to the report, skill requirements should reflect the diversity of modern civil engineering, not only focusing on building new infrastructure but also on operation and maintenance, renewal and

Ed McCann, ICE Vice-President and Chair of the ICE Skills Review Group, said: “ICE celebrates its bicentenary this year and we recognise the huge changes that have taken place in the civil engineering profession, with technological, economic and social factors continually presenting new challenges. We want to adequately ensure that civil engineering professionals have the relevant skills needed to fulfil their role in providing society with the infrastructure it needs.

“Our review has found that today’s civil engineers need a greater breadth of skills, including understanding of other disciplines and soft skills. However, practical knowledge and skills remain vitally important ingredients in a civil engineer’s make-up. A culture of continuous learning needs to be embedded more deeply in the profession to ensure that individuals can meet skills requirements throughout their careers.”

The report also makes recommendations on recruiting more people into engineering, suggesting a more flexible approach to allow and encourage people to enter the profession without the ‘traditional’ background. While greater encouragement of people with different talents into undergraduate courses would increase the pool of potential undergraduates, and help improve the supply of graduates with broader skills.

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