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Curtin celebrates tenth Indigenous Australian Engineering School

Media release

The next generation of Indigenous engineers will gain a valuable insight into their future careers as part of the annual Indigenous Australian Engineering School (IAES) hosted at Curtin University next week.

Past IAES participant Cate Hollingsworth.

Hosted on behalf of Engineering Aid Australia, 24 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia will undertake a week of engineering-related activities and site visits involving Curtin and industry sponsors.

Curtin University Faculty of Science and Engineering Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Jeremy Kilburn said a career in engineering offered an opportunity to make positive change and support communities around the world by using creativity, design and research skills and a knowledge of mathematics and science.

“The IAES program is an exciting week of activities to help budding Indigenous engineers discover how amazing and important engineering is to solving many of society’s greatest challenges,” Professor Kilburn said.

“As future engineers, these students will be equipped to play a vital role in the growth and sustainability of our communities including by providing advice on water, mining, agriculture, power, roads, hospitals, schools and communication networks and more.

“The profession needs more Indigenous engineers, particularly in remote communities and outback Australia, to lead important infrastructure projects.”

Past IAES participant Cate Hollingsworth, who is now in her first year at Curtin studying a double degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) and Bachelor of Science (Extractive Metallurgy), said she was excited about her future career.

“After I participated in the activities at the camp, I decided the right path for me was studying Chemical Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy at Curtin,” Ms Hollingsworth said.

“The site visits and interactions with other engineers and engineering students during the camp allowed me to make connections that I knew would help make me a successful engineer.”

Engineering Aid Australia Director Mrs Larissa Andrews said she was proud to see the 10-year milestone of the IAES being held in WA, which has been hosted by Curtin since its inaugural WA program in 2010, after being established in New South Wales in 1997.

“It is so encouraging to see the educational and career successes of IAES alumni in WA, many of whom may otherwise have not had the opportunity to discover the breadth and depth of a career in engineering and related scientific fields,” Mrs Andrews said.

“It is important for Indigenous perspectives to be represented in WA’s engineering profession, particularly for Perth’s future planning of infrastructure development, mining and resources activity, community design projects as well as information technology ad programming which is significant in the future world of work.

“Having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mentors in the industry who understand their journey and can guide them through this profession and ensure cultural safety is instrumental to success for IAES participants.”

Through the support of industry sponsors, Engineering Aid Australia provides scholarships to IAES alumni who go on to study engineering and science at university. More information is available online here.