As an advocate for the engineering and scientific communities, Karen Andrews talks about the possible pathways to the engineering profession, and has been vocal about the importance of having engineers mentor school students; they “can help students develop important skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects that can lead into a career in engineering,” she says.
Other pathways to the profession include professionals going from vocational education and trading experience to pursuing higher education, a traditional approach. Interestingly, there is an alternative pathway on the rise; Andrews mentions an increase in number of graduates who return to certificate and diploma level qualifications; “The questions that engineers need to answer, and particularly those who are responsible for training engineers, is whether or not there needs to be a much larger practical component to the engineering qualification to ensure that engineering graduates are job ready at the point of graduation."
She believes the nation’s economic development presents great opportunities for engineers, who are used to being innovative in their profession on a daily basis, from design, to maintenance and problem solving. “The future for us in Australia is about innovation and we need to make sure that we are being creative, and developing new ideas and new opportunities. The skills of engineers and the engineering profession in this are critical," says Andrews.
Karen Andrews will elaborate on these and other ideas regarding vocational education and training in the engineering and science industries during the Australian Engineering Conference, held in Brisbane, from 23-25 of November. For tickets and other event information, go onto the AUENCO website, here.