In a major achievement for the region, Uni Hub Spencer Gulf has secured delivery of an Associate Degree in Engineering, with enrolments now open for students to commence in July.
The qualification has been given the tick of approval by the Uni Hub’s industry advisory panel, following extensive negotiations with several universities. The associate degree will be delivered through CQ University (CQU).
Uni Hub chief executive officer Anita Crisp said the opportunity to offer the engineering qualification is a significant milestone that would help the region grow its own skilled workforce.
“Current and future shortages in professional and technical engineering skills have been consistently identified as an issue by local employers,” she said.
“With growth across the energy, construction, mining and manufacturing sectors, engineers will continue to be in strong demand as our economy transitions.
“Uni Hub has been working with local businesses and universities for close to a year to make an engineering qualification available in the region.”
Uni Hub’s new degree has been welcomed by engineering employers in the region, including Oz Minerals, Max Cranes and Port Pirie Regional Council.
Oz Mineral’s General Manager Carrapateena, Myles Johnston, said the company prioritises local procurement and employment and seeks to create enduring and sustainable value for host communities.
“We welcome the Uni Hub Spencer Gulf as it can provide a local pathway for professional and technical engineering skills and strengthen the region’s capability,” he said.
Sarah Joyce, of Max Cranes, said the blend of academic and project-based learning provided by the qualification was attractive to both employers and employees.
“As the degree is specifically designed for people who are already in the industry, we see this as a great opportunity to support our employees who want to expand their skill sets and take on the next challenge in their professional career.
“The end result will be that we have a work-ready engineering graduate.”
Port Pirie Regional Council Infrastructure director Kathryn Johnson said one of the biggest challenges for regional councils was attracting and retaining technical staff.
“This provides councils with the ability to offer engineering cadetships and career options for school leavers to study and work locally,” she said.
“I started my own engineering career through a cadetship while studying externally, but not through a facility as wonderful as the Uni Hub.”
Ms Crisp explained CQU was selected to deliver the Associate Degree in Engineering as they offered an outstanding qualification that combined the best of academic excellence and rigour with a strong focus on practical, industry experience.
“The university has a strong track record in engineering and has worked with us to specifically tailor the course structure to meet the needs of the region, recognising that many students are likely to already be in the workforce and will be studying part time to balance existing work commitments,” Ms Crisp said.
Students must complete six core units and then specialise in civil, electrical, mechanical or mining engineering. A significant part of the qualification is an industry-based project that confirms their ability to work as an Associate Engineer.”
Whilst academic lectures are delivered online, students studying through Uni Hub will receive additional benefit of local tutorials, study facilities at both Port Pirie and Port Augusta, assistance with industry placement and coordination of laboratory sessions.
As one of Uni Hub’s founding academic partners, Ms Crisp said CQU had been genuine and proactive in their engagement with the region.
“As one of only a few universities with a strong regional presence right around Australia, CQU really do understand the needs of regional communities and this really shows through with their approach,” she said.
Recent data released by the Graduate Outcomes Survey indicating that close to 80 per cent of CQU’s domestic undergraduate students find full-time employment within four months of graduation, compared to the national average of just under 72 per cent. CQU’s engineering graduates are at the top of median graduate wages and the university’s School of Engineering and Technology has been consistently recognised for excellence in research.
Enrolments for mid-year intake for 2020 close 29 June. Apply through Uni Hub Spencer Gulf: https://unihubsg.org/courses.