Building Indigenous involvement in engineering

Friday 8 July 2016

Indigenous students at winter school at Swinburne

Students presented the results of their challenge to design study spaces.

In summary

  • Winter school aims to lift Indigenous participation in engineering courses in Australia
  • Indigenous high school students explored campuses and engineering study options at four Melbourne-based universities
  • They worked on a human-centred design challenge at Swinburne

Swinburne is one of four Victorian universities taking part in the Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School this week.

The five-day winter school aims to lift the number of Indigenous people enrolled in engineering courses in Australia.

On Wednesday 6 July, more than 20 Indigenous high school students from across Australia came to Swinburne to further their experiences of engineering.

“Run in conjunction with Engineers Without Borders, Swinburne’s program aimed to show that engineering is as much about making people’s lives better as it is about finding technical solutions to problems,” says Dr Llew Mann, Associate Dean (Learning Innovation) within Swinburne’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology.

Indigenous students sitting at tables discussing their design challenge

As part of the day’s activities, students worked on a human-centred design challenge.

Working directly with users to understand their needs and to develop solutions that take into account their perspectives, the students worked on designing study spaces for various locations at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.

Engineers Without Borders representatives explained throughout the day how they have used this approach overseas in developing countries or working with Indigenous communities in Australia.

During their stay in Melbourne the students have also visited industry sites to experience engineering in action and have explored the campuses and engineering study options at four Melbourne-based universities.

The aim by the end of the week is for the students to have an appreciation of what an engineer does, and how they can impact society and improve the lives of people across the globe.