The response of Peter Fall, president of the RICS, to the decline in entry to construction courses (7 February, page 34) was extremely disappointing.
It radiated arrogance and elitism, and certainly does not reflect my view as a RICS member of some 20 years both in practice and as an academic teaching on construction-related degrees. There are a number of issues raised by him that should be challenged:
  • The "improvements in the quality of students" he mentions can only mean higher A-level results - the only criterion that the RICS has changed. They have restricted severely any non-standard entry. Research continually tells us that higher A-level results do not mean better quality students.
  • It remains to be seen how many of the new entrants join the RICS – engineering graduates are as likely to be seduced by other employment opportunities. The test of the RICS policy will be in some years, at APC entry [RICS' Assessment of Professional Competence].
  • At my institution, the students on the non-accredited course are producing the best results across the whole programme – they are a range of mature, non-standard-entry and lower A level-point students not wanted by the RICS.
  • The Building Surveying entry numbers have dropped, not risen – a sector that in the past has attracted a number of mature and non-standard-entry students. Yet employers have been consistently wooing our students, so the quality would seem to be there.

I am afraid that the president's views confirm the RICS as a white, male, elitist club – just what I thought we were trying to move away from.