Like Richard Steer, I have been mulling over the past year and wondering what will be repeated in 2006.

In my case, I actually made a small bet over how long it would be before someone wrote about the skill shortages in the industry, which, thanks to Richard's article, I have now won.

In three years, I have yet to meet anyone in the industry who does not bemoan the lack of new recruits, graduates' literacy and numeracy, the age profile of the industry and graduates' salary expectations. Yet it doesn't have to be this way. There is an alternative, one that addresses all these problems: apprenticeships.

There are young people out there who are interested and capable; the industry, as Richard suggests, just needs to look outside its traditional hunting grounds.

Kevin Drugan, chief executive, the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust