A Tectonic Shift in Engineering Education

Professor Jane Goodyer, Massey University

RSNZ Manawatu Branch March 2017 meeting

7.30 pm Tuesday, 21 March, Palmerston North Central Library, George Street, Palmerston North

Currently, engineering education globally is going through a tough time. Firstly there is a shortage of young people wishing to embark on an engineering career. The Royal Academy of Engineering reports that the UK will require “1.28 million new science, engineering and technology professionals and technicians by 2020”. In Australia, a Senate inquiry was set up to address the shortage of engineering and related employment skills. The American Immigration Council are calling for new policies to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) training throughout the US educational system in the interest of the economy’s recovery. To compound this problem current engineering education programmes may be regarded as too abstract, out of touch, hard work and boring, focussing on theoretical foundation rather than student-centred practice. In addition there is an under representation of females practicing engineering where (in countries such as the UK and Australia) women barely reach 10% of the profession’s cohort.

There are many initiatives that government, educational and industry sectors are implementing to address these issues: e.g. developing curricula that are more aligned for the challenges students will face in their working career; school outreach programmes to excite young people about STEM, and the resurgence of apprenticeships. This seminar will outline best practice initiatives that are needed to move engineering education forward.

Jane Goodyer is the new Head of the School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey University. She is a strong advocate of making NZ engineering education world class and is currently advising the Tertiary Education Commission on new models of engineering education such as Degree Apprenticeships.

All warmly welcome