Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage

THE Queensland Major Contractors Association and Queensland University of Technology have teamed up to steer engineering graduates toward hands-on construction rather than design.
Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage Tackling the Qld civil engineering skills shortage

Queensland University of Technology.

Justin Niessner

QMCA said a new academic chair in civil and construction engineering would work collaboratively with industry groups and QUT to develop curriculum that specifically addressed civil engineering skills shortages.

The effort will be funded by the Building Employees Redundancy Trust.

QMCA president Tony Hackett said the partnership would bolster the number of graduates entering the industry.

“Industry needs to be part of the solution by engaging with tertiary education to ensure graduates are ‘construction ready’ and can move straight into projects,” he said.

“The chair will develop undergraduate courses, as well as those for existing professionals to rapidly acquire specialist knowledge.

“Initiatives should include curriculum development and mentoring programs, integrated field trip and guest lecturing by industry members, as well as identification of new research needs and outcomes for industry.”

BERT is investing over $600,000 between now and 2015 into the partnership with an aim to expand its training and up-skilling programs to include tertiary education, and to target whole-of-industry outcomes.

More than 600 students enrol in QUT civil, civil and construction, or civil and environmental specialisations each year, which is almost half of the QUT engineering cohort.

QUT executive dean of the science and engineering faculty Martin Betts said the university had worked with the construction industry for a long time.

“We’ve collaborated with the QMCA on construction engineering course development over six years. The new and dedicated chair will be a welcomed boost to these efforts,” he said.

“Professional development for current engineers will be as much a focus as undergraduate programs, so we can help meet current needs.

“The chair will ensure course relevance and engagement between industry and the university.

“The right academic candidate for the position will have extensive industry experience and act as a conduit between the industry and university, ensuring needs are met and course content is contemporary and highly relevant.

“Long-term, we need more people taking up civil and construction engineering careers.”