This week, readers want to help unemployed graduates, solve the problem of congestion on the M25 and see the government consider the consequences of reducing feed-in tariffs

A helping hand for graduates

I read with interest your article “Jobs outlook for construction graduates improving” (7 November, It is promising news that graduate employment is on the increase across our sector.

However, graduate unemployment is still at an all-time high. With around 66,000 architecture and building graduates leaving university in 2010, figures show that with 73% in employment this still leaves nearly 6,000 graduates unemployed and 13,000 working part time or not employed in the sector that they worked to reach.

It is these figures that still give me great cause for concern and I ask companies to do what they can for these graduates. If you cannot take on any more full time positions, why not look to take on paid internships? This will give graduates real work experience and help them to become more marketable when that job opportunity finally arises.

By solving this problem we will not only be giving something back to the young people entering our industry but also protecting our sector from entering the cycle of job and skill shortages again when the upturn arrives.

Stephen Gee, managing partner, John Rowan & Partners

Homes suffer from FIT cuts

The government’s “proposed” bringing forward of the FIT reduction has shaken confidence but also underestimated the unintended consequences of the move. This is particularly apparent to the social housing sector, which has invested significant time and resource in PV schemes, with plans to use FIT revenue to invest in energy-saving measures. We all expected a step down in the FIT rate from April - the uncertainty of what this step down would be has created the rush to install before the end of March. There will be large numbers of vulnerable homes affected - not only those that would have benefited from PV but also those that would have benefited from the energy-saving measures that FITs could have funded.

Ellie Horwitch-Smith, associate director, Faithful + Gould

Happy 25th, M25

Last week marked the 25th anniversary of one of the UK’s greatest infrastructure achievements - the M25. This industrial masterpiece revolutionised the country’s transport network for the better.

The value of this road is almost incalculable, not just in terms of the business efficiencies it has created, but the effect it has had on the cost of goods, and improved property prices in the area.

While due sensitivity must be given to resident concerns, particularly given that ours is a small island, the country must build to progress, but too often this is stifled by minor interest groups that fail to recognise the wider importance of schemes.

London’s orbital has altered the face of the South-east for the better. Perhaps the next big infrastructure project should be a double-decker freeway built over the
existing space that allows traffic at the bottom to go clockwise and those on top to go anti-clockwise, to ease traffic flow!

Steven Barker, chairman, Robinson Low Francis