Sixteen students have started the UK’s first master’s degree course to train the next generation of public sector highways managers. The MSc in highway engineering was launched by the SE7 group of councils with Brighton University.
Surrey County Council leader David Hodge said: “Only by having the best staff can we provide residents with the best services. This course means we’ll have highways engineers ready and able to go the extra mile.”
Surrey County Council took the lead on developing the course with Brighton after the leader of East Sussex County Council Peter Jones initially approached the university.
Students’ time will be divided between learning on the job at one of the seven SE7 councils or their contractors, such as May Gurney, Balfour Beatty, and university lectures.
Study areas include contracts, engineering theory and design, asset and procurement management and personnel management.
The seven local authorities involved in SE7 cover Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, Hampshire, Brighton and Hove, and Medway.
SE7 was formed to find ways to save millions of pounds and improve services.
Each council focuses on a specific area of work. Surrey is responsible for highways, with other councils in charge of areas such as IT and special education needs.