England

Brighton university highways degree prepares workers

A university masters course is to be launched in the South East to prepare highways engineers to work for councils and contractors.

Brighton university and Surrey County Council have developed the MSc in highway engineering with six other authorities across the South East.

The county council said the course was believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The training course is due to be launched at the university on Monday.

Skills gap

Surrey council leader David Hodge said the course would fill a skills gap and create the senior public sector highways managers of the future.

He said: "Only by having the best staff can we provide residents with the best services.

"That means investing in them so they have the skills to do an even better job and our councils are fit for the future."

On Monday, the first 16 students will start the first two-year course, with another MSc due to begin in September 2012.

Contracts and theory

They will spent their time learning on the job with one of the seven councils involved, working with contractors such as May Gurney and Balfour Beatty, and attending university lectures.

Study areas include engineering, contracts, engineering theory, asset management, engineering design and implementation and engineering management.

The seven local authorities involved cover Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Brighton and Hove, and Medway.

They are part of a single body, the SE7 group, which was set up to find ways to cut out unnecessary duplication, drive down costs and provide greater value for money.

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