As an organisation, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to show school-aged students how engineering and other STEM-related subjects make a huge impact on society.
With our CEO Peter McIntyre part of the Male Champions of Change group, we are also continuing work to increase gender diversity in our profession and the engagement of women in STEM careers.
Throughout 2018, Engineers Australia helped students explore STEM concepts through interactive tools, mentorships, events, teaching resources and face-to-face engagements in an effort to help inspire and ignite a passion.
Engineers Australia continued to work directly with the Office of the Chief Scientist on our joint interactive website, STARportal, to help connect more young people with STEM initiatives across the country.
The portal, launched in 2017, is a collaboration with Telstra, AMSI, BHP Billiton and the Commonwealth Bank, and gives teachers, parents and students a real-time resource to find STEM activities in their local area.
Since then, the portal has gone from strength to strength, attracting thousands of visitors every month and gaining national interest from science and tech blogs such as Gizmodo and The Strategist.
Engineers Australia has played a big role in working directly with teachers and helping them understand fundamental engineering concepts.
In 2018, Engineers Australia also saw its Engineering Studies Teacher Program officially accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority.
The program provides teachers with resources and webinars through 90-minute sessions twice per school term (face-to-face or webinar) to develop and improve their understanding and appreciation of the field of engineering.
The program had humble beginnings as an Engineers Australia endorsed event as part of Engineering Week in 2014.
Today, the program has become a great example of how Engineers Australia has helped bridge the knowledge gap for teachers and give them an improved understanding and appreciation of the field of engineering.
Warman Design competition: 31 years and going strong
The Warman Design & Build Competition is another STEM-related program that Engineers Australia supports and plays a big role in.
The competition prepares students for their careers as they design and build an autonomous machine able to successfully perform a specific task, and offers students a hands-on approach to engineering.
Internal heats are run throughout the year at 19 campuses across the Asia Pacific to determine which teams represent their respective universities at the national finals.
Monash University, Clayton took home the prize in 2018 with a unique prototype that used robotic arms to relocate a power pack from a dry well to a new water storage facility.
Getting involved in STEM projects
This year, Engineers Australia brought together more than 100 Year 12 students to the 20th annual Honeywell Engineering Summer School.
The immersive week-long residential Engineering Program aimed to open students’ eyes to the opportunities in a career in engineering.
The students visited and participated in workshops at USYD, UNSW, UTS, Macquarie University & University of Wollongong. They experienced engineering in action at RAAF Richmond, BlueScope Steel, Thales on Garden Island, Cochlear, and Transport for NSW’s Training Facility
Another example of our STEM outreach work is in the Western Australia, Engineers Australia runs the successful EngTalk program, reaching out to high school students to inspire the next generation of engineers. Engineers Australia members volunteer their time to share their experiences and shine the spotlight on engineering as a potential career.
EngTalk has successfully run for four years now, drawing young students to STEM and engineering studies alike.
In September, Engineers Australia ran STEMCell as part of our Australian Engineering Conference with more than 600 students from 22 schools across Wollongong, The Sutherland Shire, Sydney and Greater Sydney area, Blue Mountains, and Central Coast.
STEMCell provided the opportunity for Year 7-11 school students to see the top 10 student-led projects from each of our leading Engineering Universities including UTS, UNSW, Macquarie and University of Wollongong. Leading industry partners including SMEC, Transport for NSW and Dept of Defence presented their future projects and pathways to careers within their organisations.
How young women are getting into STEM
As we aim to cover ground in the STEM space, we recognise how leading diversity projects are also taking on a science engineering approach.
This years’ Experience It!, an annual conference held by Engineers Australia in Sydney, aims to get young women interested in the field of engineering.
More than 150 high school girls from Years 8-10 heard from current engineering students and industry representatives, learnt what careers and opportunities are available, and heard about the journeys and achievements from those in the industry.
In the Northern Territory, Engineers Australia runs the SySTEMic a project that pairs up students – 50 per cent of whom are female – with engineering companies and consultancies to develop STEM projects, funded by the Northern Territory Department of Education.