A PROGRAM aimed at bringing more engineers to regional areas has been welcomed by the owner of one of Orange’s engineering companies.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) will offer an engineering course at its Bathurst campus from 2016 and foundation engineering professor Euan Lindsay said its creation followed pressures in regional NSW.
“Recruiting engineers to the regions has always been problematic,” he said.
“Despite the benefits to the community, and to the individual, metropolitan-trained engineers show a reluctance to move out of the cities into rural and regional areas.”
The program will include cadet engineer placements, giving students guaranteed experience as part of their training.
Professor Lindsay said engineering projects worked best when engineers understood the community’s needs when they were solving problems.
“Of particular benefit is the ability to reduce the reliance on fly-in/fly-out operators for maintaining regional infrastructure,” he said.
“It is of no help to regional communities if jobs are created and then taken by professionals from elsewhere.”
Hort Enterprises managing director Jeff Hort said sourcing engineers was difficult anywhere in Australia due to an overall shortage, but recruiting to regional areas was even more challenging.
“They go for the big jobs with the big money in the cities,” he said.
“Anything that can be done to increase the number has got to be a benefit.”
Mr Hort said he would take an interest in the course, especially if it allowed him to upskill some of his tradesmen.
“Upskilling is the key to our future because [the industry] is becoming more technically savvy,” he said.
“The manual jobs are slowly disappearing, but for tradesmen to go back and get a degree is a fantastic way to go because the gun engineers have done both.
“It’s about knowing what a man can do in a day.”
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