Engineers Australia’s Newcastle division offers registered professional development to engineering studies teachers

Team effort: Teacher Lu Taylor with Engineers Australia Newcastle general manager Helen Link and Grace Thiveos. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
Team effort: Teacher Lu Taylor with Engineers Australia Newcastle general manager Helen Link and Grace Thiveos. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

A Hunter initiative that aims to inject more life – and recruit more students – into engineering studies will be rolled out across the state.

Engineers Australia’s (EA) Newcastle division has this month received endorsement from the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to provide registered professional development to teachers.

It has been running its education program – understood to be the first in NSW specifically for engineering studies teachers – since 2014, but teachers can now earn professional development points for enrolling.

Merewether High engineering studies teacher Lu Taylor said while the syllabus had been rewritten in 2013, the subject was still largely textbook and theory based and teachers had to go online to keep abreast of advances in the field, then match these to the curriculum.

“But with this syllabus-aligned program we hear from dynamic engineers who give us first hand experience of their projects and real world case studies, which we can share with students so they are better versed in what the subject is all about." 

Ms Taylor said the program also gave teachers who may not have received enough university level training in engineering studies a deeper understanding of the field, which she said filtered down to students.

She said the number of year nine engineering studies classes at her school had recently grown from one to three. The number of female students had grown from 20 per cent to 50 per cent.

The one year 11 class has grown to three classes and the one year 12 class had grown to two.

EA’s Newcastle general manager Helen Link said the program would be rolled out to the rest of the state in the second half of this year.