Tackling the Engineering Employment Crisis: LearnPedia’s Solutions for Australia’s Underutilized Talent

What motivated you to address the pressing issue of Australia’s engineering skills crisis?

In the world of structural engineering, my journey with ANZ Engineers as a Senior Structural Engineer and director, alongside my role as the founder and head instructor at LearnPedia, has given me a unique perspective on the delicate balance between personal achievements and making meaningful and genuine contributions. The journey, marked by its highs and lows, has been nothing short of transformative. A path that has taught me the profound difference between seeking personal glory and making impactful contributions that resonate through the entire community.

Australia’s engineering skills crisis is closer to our hearts and homes than we might realize. This isn’t just a topic of discussion; it’s a looming disaster that Engineers Australia eloquently highlighted on 14 July 2023. Their statement was alarming yet unsurprising: over 100,000 qualified engineers in Australia, individuals brimming with skill and potential, find themselves in jobs far removed from their field of expertise. They’re driving Ubers, they’re working in cafes, and they’re doing everything but engineering. This, as Engineers Australia rightly pointed out, is a national emergency in the making, a ticking time bomb that threatens to exacerbate Australia’s skills crisis unless we harness this untapped reservoir of talent.

Can you describe your personal and professional journey as a migrant engineer in Australia, and how it led to the founding of LearnPedia to address the engineering skills crisis?

My journey through the Australian engineering landscape has been both personal and professional. As a migrant engineer who has navigated the roles of an employee and employer at ANZ Engineers, I didn’t need a report to unveil the reality of this crisis. I’ve lived it. Long before it became headline news, I was in the trenches, witnessing the disconnect between talented engineers and the opportunities they deserve. This realization sparked a fire in me back in 2018, compelling me to act, to make a real difference, leading to the creation of LearnPedia Australia.

I embarked on a mission to bridge this gap through the development of project-based traineeship/internship program tailored specifically to the Australian context. This initiative wasn’t about accolades or personal gain. It was about contribution, about offering a lifeline to those engineers who had been sidelined by the industry.

Can you share a specific instance that highlights the challenges migrant engineers face in the Australian job market, and how does LearnPedia’s approach address these issues?

The stories of wasted potential are heart-wrenching. I recall a conversation with a migrant structural engineer, a man with years of experience overseas, who found himself overlooked by the Australian industry, and after 11 years of being in Australia, he never got into the industry. He offered his expertise for free, desperate to gain the local experience that hiring managers insist upon. Yet, opportunities were scarce, and those internships he managed to secure did not pave the way to a structural engineering role. The reality is harsh: training interns is a costly affair for companies, and the risk of investing in potential talent that might leave is often deemed too high.

This engineer’s story is not unique. It reflects a broader narrative of skilled professionals forced into unrelated jobs, underpaid, and without prospects for advancement. They pursued engineering with dreams of designing and innovating, only to find those dreams deferred, losing hope and faith in the system and their professional future here in Australia.

Since 2018, I’ve dedicated myself to crafting and delivering well-structured and practical training programs at LearnPedia Australia that offer more than just education; they offer hope and opportunity. At ANZ Engineers, I have witnessed firsthand the skillset and knowledge that graduate and migrant engineers lack to enter the industry, and I targeted them in the courses and traineeship/internship program I developed.

What drives your enduring enthusiasm for developing LearnPedia’s courses and traineeship programs, and how do you measure the impact of your work on the engineering community in Australia?

It hasn’t been an easy journey. The dedication required to develop these courses, traineeship programs, and resources and pour my knowledge and passion into them has been immense. Yet, when asked how I maintain my enthusiasm, my answer is simple: it’s about values. I believe in making a difference, changing lives, and contributing to something greater than myself.

Seeing the tangible outcomes of this work and witnessing LearnPedia’s trainees secure their place in the engineering industry, earn deserved salaries, and progress in their careers is indescribably fulfilling. It’s a testament to the power of contribution over personal achievement. Each success story is a reminder of why I continue to fight this battle, day in and day out. In the end, it’s not just about engineering; it’s about planting seeds of change and watching them grow, about leaving the world a little better than we found it.

How does addressing the engineering skills crisis benefit Australia as a whole, and what drives your commitment to improving the industry for the betterment of the community and economy?

Australia and Australians deserve better. This belief is the cornerstone of my commitment to our industry. The skills crisis is not just an engineering issue; it’s a national concern that touches every aspect of our lives, from the infrastructure that powers our cities to the innovations that drive our future. I am steadfast in my resolve to contribute to the solution to ensure that our engineers have the opportunities to apply their skills and passions where they matter most. For the sake of our community, economy, and our collective future, I am committed to doing my best for our industry, one engineer at a time.
If the above resonates with you, if you’ve walked similar paths or faced these challenges, we invite you to connect with us at www.learnpedia.com.au. You’re not alone, and together, we can navigate the journey towards a brighter future in engineering.

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