Engineers committed to working with the Chief Scientist to unlock the nation’s future

The engineering profession is pledging to work with the new Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel AO, to lift the level of mathematical and scientific literacy in Australia.

Speaking on behalf of the profession, Engineers Australia said Dr Finkel, who commences in the role on the eve of Australia Day, will continue the shift in the way Australian policy-makers view science—an important step in improving STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education outcomes.

“Australia has been falling behind in international school rankings and our students are becoming less STEM-literate,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Engineers Australia, Stephen Durkin.

“This is having a negative impact on our global competitiveness because many of the school students of today will no longer be able to pursue high-demand career paths, like engineering, tomorrow.

“Australia needs to shift from being the lucky country to the smart country. Engineers Australia understands this and sees the Chief Scientist as an essential partner to achieve that objective.

“Australia's future lies in a high-tech, high-value economy. As with all knowledge-based economies, our competitive advantage will come from our people; Australia's next resources boom won't come from mineral resources, but from human resources. As global experience has shown, high-tech engineering capability underpins all parts of a modern economy. Only active investment in education will ensure that this innovation translates into action,” said Mr Durkin.

Dr Finkel has noted that in the next 15 years, up to 45 per cent of jobs as we know them will disappear and be replaced by automation and robotics.

“Of the new jobs which will be created a very high percentage will require STEM literacy, which partially explains why around three-quarters of the fastest growing occupations in Australia are those which require STEM skills.

“This represents another compelling reason for there being closer links between the academic and business worlds to better promote the practical application and commercialisation of science.

“Engineers Australia remains confident the outlook for Australia is bright and with innovation now at the centre of the federal Government’s policy agenda, it could be even brighter,” said Mr Durkin.


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Notes for editors
Engineers Australia is the peak representative body for the engineering profession, representing more than 100,000 members from all disciplines of the engineering team. We maintain representation in every state and territory.
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