School leavers listing engineering as a first preference on university admission forms has jumped amid industry-wide calls to bring more students into the engineering stream to meet demand.
A careers awareness program conducted by the Queensland Resources Council, the peak body representing the minerals and energy sector, appeared to be getting the message across that engineering provided a great career pathway and that graduates would walk into well paying jobs, said council chief executive Michael Roche.
“I believe there has been a similar increase at Central Queensland University, and I’m pleased to see that UQ is providing 100 extra engineering places in 2006,” Roche said.
“The shortage is being particularly felt in the areas of mining and minerals processing engineering.”
Last year, 110 mining engineers graduated from six colleges in Australia, while demand exceeded 160. Minerals process engineering graduates at UQ totaled five, with a national requirement for between 40 and 60.
The council’s awareness program for careers in the minerals and energy sector has seen attendance at careers fairs, television advertising, a new careers website and a schools program.
In addition, scholarships worth up to $A40,000 are on offer for school leavers taking up engineering or earth science courses at university next year.