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Shaping an Indigenous future in Engineering

Four of the top Victorian universities are uniting in their commitment to greater representation of Indigenous Australians in the field of engineering.

The University of Melbourne, Monash, Swinburne and RMIT Universities are hosting the inaugural Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS).

Over five days, Year 11 and 12 students from all around Australia will get an insight into what it’s like to study and work in engineering through exposure to real world applications of engineering and access to world-class facilities.

Participants in the winter school will have the opportunity to learn about different pathways into engineering and hear first-hand from current Indigenous engineers and engineering students.

By the end of the week the students will have an appreciation of what an engineer does and how they can impact society and improve the lives of people across the globe.

Ms Hope Perkins from the Melbourne School of Engineering and one of the coordinators of VIEWS said that Indigenous engineers are part of the conversation and the opportunity exists to set about positive change.

A commitment to population parity is a key feature of the 2015 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for the University of Melbourne.

“By engaging with secondary school students earlier, we can create and support pathways into the engineering profession for Indigenous students. It is all about building a tangible pipeline into the profession and sustaining a consistent and long-term approach that includes ongoing engagement with all of our stakeholders.”

“We are very excited about the winter school program and are pleased to be delivering on the recommendations and outcomes of last year’s National Summit”, she said.

Mr Ross Peek is a qualified engineer who graduated from the University of Melbourne and has worked as an Engineer for 8 years. As an Indigenous Australian who has taken the pathway, Ross is now a mentor to students.

“As an engineer, I’m here to mentor students coming through the ranks and am able to provide advice on what hurdles they may experience and how to overcome them,” he said.

“One key challenge for school students is having the confidence to take-up maths and science subjects. Good results in advanced maths at secondary school, is possible. With the right study techniques and support structures in place, there is no limit to what our young Indigenous Australians can achieve. Here, VIEWS will assist to educate students of the benefits of doing well at school, the fun to be had at university and the excitement of a career in engineering,” Mr Peek said.

In 2015, the National Indigenous Engineering Summit brought together the engineering industry, professional bodies, educational providers and policy leaders to exchange ideas and develop strategies to increase the number of Indigenous Engineers.

The Summit concluded with a National statement of intent; a commitment to the future. VIEWS directly came out of the recommendations of the Summit.

VIEWS is generously sponsored by Google, BP and ARUP.

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