Talking Points: Tasmania's priorities and key messages

Boosting Engineers Australia’s impact as the trusted voice of the profession is one of our priorities for 2019, so we are refreshing our key messages for our engagement with government, the public and other stakeholders. We’re after Tasmanian members’ feedback on the four pillars of our key messages.
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Boosting Engineers Australia’s impact as the trusted voice of the profession is one of our priorities for 2019, so we are refreshing our key messages for our engagement with government, the public and other stakeholders.

We are keen to hear Tasmanian Members’ feedback on the Key Messages for Engagement outlined below. The four pillars and associated items are the main issues that we focus on when engaging with key stakeholders on members’ behalf such as the government, education providers, industry and the public. These messages have been reviewed by the Tasmania Division Committee and we are now seeking broader input from Engineers Australia members.

Please share your feedback directly with David Pointing, General Manager for Tasmania, via email.

Pillar 1: Managing the pipeline of infrastructure projects

Tasmania has a lot of engineering-related investment and work planned or under consideration – our main messages focus on:

  • Mapping and sharing the planned pipeline of infrastructure and major engineering projects in Tasmania and coordinating to have less boom and bust or gaps between periods of significant work
  • Aligning infrastructure decisions with strategic priorities, such as those defined by Infrastructure Australia and Tasmanian government and industry strategies
  • Improving procurement practices within government to reduce impacts on project commencement
  • Local content policies and supporting and growing local capabilities.

Pillar 2: Developing the engineering workforce Tasmania needs

Based on the expected pipeline of work in Tasmania over the next few decades, and existing issues, workforce is going to be a major issue for the engineering sector.

Our key messages in this area focus on:

  • The future need for a greater number of engineering professionals than we currently have; this will be a challenge, and we’ll need to manage how we compete as a state with demands for talent and resources in other locations such as Victoria, Queensland, NSW, and South East Asia
  • The need for greater insight into our future engineering workforce requirements in Tasmania, and a plan for how we’ll develop or otherwise recruit this workforce
  • Ensuring the engineering workforce has the right competencies, qualifications and values. This will be a further challenge given we’ll likely be ‘importing’ many more engineering professionals than previously seen – a common framework to define the competence of our engineering workforce is recommended and we believe Chartered/CPEng credentials are a great solution.

Engineers Australia’s efforts on developing a workforce development strategy for engineering in Tasmania, as detailed in our Workforce Development Plan 2016 – 2019, are invaluable, however areas where more effort is needed include:

  • Support for Graduate employment in alignment with support for trainees and apprentices, e.g. support in major projects for employment of graduate engineers
  • Support for industry-aligned workforce training needs (e.g. preparing for Industry 4.0)
  • Strengthening and diversifying the pipeline of our engineering and associated workforce (including STEM outreach)
  • Support for driving diversity in the engineering profession – diversity is part of the solution to our challenge of needing many more engineers.

Pillar 3: Managing risk and quality in engineering services in Tasmania

Our messages in this area are influenced by the significant size and economic value of engineering work planned for Tasmania, the current state of registration of engineering professionals in Tasmania and other jurisdictions, and the impact of projects such as the Opal Towers in Sydney, and focus on:

  • Developing a state-wide framework for defining and assessing the competence of engineering professionals in Tasmania, extending beyond existing requirements in the building sector
  • Managing risk in procurement of engineering services for major projects through the use of third party competency standards (Chartered) as currently used in Defence sector and organisations such as Sydney Water
  • Support for engineering team members within government organisations attaining Chartered status.

 We have a specific focus on promoting Chartered as the ‘competency framework of choice’ for engineering given its international standing.

 We believe that adopting Chartered as the benchmark for defining competence across our engineering workforce will:

  1. Optimise our risk management of recruiting and training a competent workforce
  2. Facilitate efficient development of our engineering workforce, particularly graduates, by using a common framework to guide and assess professional development efforts
  3. Enable increased mobility with confidence between major engineering projects in Tasmania by Growing Grads with a common foundation
  4. Define a benchmark to enable savings in performance and avoidance of consequences
  5. Maintain access to markets that require or seek services or products delivered by Chartered engineers, such as the Defence sector, NSW, VIC and QLD
  6. Attract and retain talent by presenting Tasmania as a state that supports our engineering team and their career development, including ensuring they have international mobility and recognition for their skills
  7. Avoid the race to the bottom of talent – if other states require Chartered and Tasmania doesn’t, where do the people seek work who can’t or won’t get Chartered?
  8. Support and strengthen Brand Tasmania – innovation, sustainability and quality, delivered by an engineering team that is supported and developed to the internationally defined standard.

Pillar 4: Vision of Engineering in Tasmania

As Engineers Australia celebrates its 100th birthday and explores the past, present and future of the engineering profession in Tasmania, we are working to define a common story about engineering in Tasmania – one that will inspire our young people to join our profession, attract other skilled professionals to join our community, and highlight our abilities to serve the local and global community.

This focus lends itself to the following questions:

  • What is our story about our engineering capability in Tasmania?
  • Which specific themes could define engineering in Tasmania, and what are our stand-out claims to fame within these specific themes?
  • Would we start with sustainable energy (dams and wind), power systems, advanced manufacturing, mining, maritime engineering, Defence, Antarctic operations, scientific support (eg AUVs)? Do we include our capabilities with roads, waste, water and sanitation for small communities? Agriculture and manufacturing, food production, resource refining? Suddenly the list is long and broad, and is it accurate? Can we tighten our ‘pitch’ to define key themes for engineering in Tasmania?
  • What is our pitch within these themes? For example, if defence is a core theme, are we the place to go to build ‘big ships’ or world-class catamarans, or the best choice for agile and swift solutions to complex challenges, or both? How do people find partners or providers in Tasmania?
  • As we prepare for the significant increase in the number and size of engineering projects to be delivered over the next 10-20 years across a range of sectors, does the list grow further, and do we use these projects to transform and/or define engineering in Tasmania?

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