The engineering skills shortage in Australia is well documented. Mechanical Engineers perform diverse roles in industry: the design of new products, systems and machines is a key role. The shortage of skills in the design area is particularly acute and is a significant factor in the increasing loss of Australian industry to overseas countries.
The shortage of skilled design engineers is compounded by a reduction in design teaching in engineering departments at most Australian Universities, as university funding is increasingly linked to research output, and design is not regarded as a productive area for research.
For some time the NCED has been concerned about the standard and level of design teaching in Australian undergraduate engineering courses. There has been a level of concern registered with NCED by diverse sectors within the engineering community, including oil and gas, medical technology and defence sectors.
The NCED proposes that the solution is to set up an Australian Graduate School of Mechanical Engineering Design and Manufacture. This school will offer Masters Degrees in mechanical engineering. The program will cover a broad range of design topics from design for Manufacture through to Systems Engineering. There will be a focus on design and innovation with a focus on design creativity, the required theoretical knowledge, and a series of design projects in a ‘hothouse’ design environment.
Financial modeling indicates that the school is viable with a realistic level of industry sponsorship (supported by surveys conducted) and student fees.
NCED is convinced of the need to establish a Graduate School of Engineering Design and Manufacture and is seeking partners from industry, Engineers Australia, government, philanthropists and or universities that wish to be involved with the proposed graduate school, particularly foundation sponsors.
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