Inspiring Australia update: stirring up interest in engineering

Australia needs engineers but where will they come from? Inspiring Australia is looking for answers by funding programs which aim to attract the interest of Australian students. Here is an update about two of these programs.



It is well-known that Australia is experiencing a skill shortage in relation to engineers, and that Australian industry, and the economy as a whole, are and will continue to be affected by this shortage unless the trend is reversed. Establishing pathways to tertiary careers in engineering is fundamental in addressing the skills shortage.

Inspiring Australia, the national strategy for science engagement, is playing a part in addressing this issue through awarding $710 000 through its Unlocking Australia’s Potential grants for projects working to promote engineering as a career path. With partnering organisations contributing a similar amount, the projects are providing over $1.4 million dollars towards encouraging engagement with engineering science.

Two examples of the Inspiring Australia-funded engineering projects include Science Rocks on the Road and Robogals:

  • Science Rocks on the Road is an outreach project which provides hands-on demonstrations and activities to improve awareness, understanding and interest in mining-related science. The project has been developed, with assistance from educators and input from volunteers across all science disciplines, and conducted workshops and events focusing on engaging school students in science.
  • Robogals conducts robotics workshops in high schools with the aim of promoting engineering careers, particularly to female students. The activities engage students in a range of engineering topics in a fun and creative way. Additionally the workshops include a brief introduction to the different types of engineering, and how engineers impact our daily lives.

Through these and other projects, Inspiring Australia is working towards not only to address one of the key issues of the Australian economy, but at the same time is ensuring that even those who choose not to pursue a career in engineering have a level of appreciation and understanding of the contribution science makes to the Australian economy and to everyday life.

This update from Inspiring Australia is initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in partnership with the Australian Science Communicators.


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About Jesse Shore

Jesse Shore is passionate about engaging the community with science and in looking for ways to weave together the arts and sciences. He has been developing science based exhibitions and events since 1984, and was President of the Australian Science Communicators from 2010-2012. His business, Prismatic Sciences, produced five travelling exhibitions for the Royal Australian Chemical Institute for the 2011 International Year of Chemistry and he manages the ongoing national tour. He previously worked at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as an exhibition project leader and Senior Curator of sciences. While at the museum he was one of the founders of the Ultimo Science Festival, a major National Science Week activity. He is currently collaborating with an artist to create artworks which have a science slant.

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