A leading Victoria University (VU) academic is concerned that Australian universities are struggling to produce enough engineers to meet the demands of the country's unprecedented resources boom. The problem is compounding in China, where demand for raw materials to feed its manufacturing industry continues to grow, despite the global financial crisis.
Universities across Australia continue to struggle to attract school leavers to engineering courses. Engineers Australia "the largest and most diverse professional body for engineers in the country" estimates we now have a shortfall of about 28,000 engineers in the workforce.
"Only 6000 engineers graduate from Australian universities each year," says Dr Akhtar Kalam, a Professor in the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) course at VU. "Compare that to China, where between 250,000 to 600,000 engineers graduate each year," Dr Kalam said.
"Despite a perception that engineering is not a lucrative career, Australian engineering graduates are among the first employed and best paid of all university graduates" earning about A$45,000 in their first job, " Dr Kalam said.
To ensure graduates are work-ready upon completion of their course, VU is committed to ensuring that all courses include practical "hands-on" skills and that all students are trained in the latest state-of-the-art technology used in industry. VU staff are also involved in international recognition programs in many countries and complete international professional development to incorporate new processes into Victoria University programs.
Studying an Advance Diploma of Engineering Technology, Pakistani student Hafiz Abdul Aleem is quite satisfied with VU's practical 'hands-on' engineering training.
"The labs are fully equipped with the latest technologies like CNC Machines and Robotics.
The etching techniques using video demonstrations, computers and internet are really good too. Industrial tours and workshops have also given me a lot of opportunities to learn and improve my skills," Hafiz said.
To find out more about engineering programs at VU search for courses and units.