The ever-growing importance of engineering in society
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The ever-growing importance of engineering in society

On the cusp of a global recession, many people are wondering how so many countries can afford to invest in much-needed infrastructure for energy and transport.

The constitutional truth is that these countries can’t afford to be idle and tip-toe round the issues of debt and financial instability when they have so many other challenges that need to be addressed; climate change, globalisation and a greater demand on services due to demographic fluctuations are all issues that these countries can’t afford to ignore.

By investing in their infrastructure, these countries provide a lasting incentive for their economies, and maintain a solid basis for future sustainable growth. There are, however, a number of critical obstacles that are standing in the way, the most important being the global lack of skill within varying fields of engineering. Worldwide, bodies such as the CBI, the ATUA and the CII have noted that the lack of engineering graduates poses an unnerving threat to the future of our society.

It is certainly not a new message, but it is one of growing importance: that scientists and engineers are vital to our universal economy, as well as our society. Their knowledge and skill are in demand across virtually every sector, from forestry to finance and everything in between.

Tiina Roose, Professor of Biological and Environmental Modelling at the University of Southampton told The Guardian, “I think it is important to get the richness of engineering represented in the primary and secondary school curriculum and in the media.

“Engineering is about finding practical solutions to problems that society faces due to climate change, ageing population and so on, rather than what is currently a very Brunel-esque representation of it being about bridges and railways in schools and in the media.”

Engineers, and the practice of Engineering, has one primary goal: to benefit mankind. The demands of modern society require us to continually interact with our surrounding environment; to harvest and exact what we need to sustain life and develop human empires. It is, however, the role of the Engineer to minimise the effects of damage to our ecosystems, and design necessary infrastructures that are efficient as well as safe.

There are such a broad range of disciplines in the field of Engineering that is can be difficult to predict the path that an Engineer’s career will follow. They may fall into a technical role, which immerses them in the realm of mathematics, physics and science, or a more managerial role that could lead them to focus on communications, report writing, finance, negotiations and the development of people. But whichever way you look at it, all these occupations are motivated by human need and sustainability.

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University of Warwick

Walter Pity told The Guardian: “Most of the general public have no idea what Engineering is. Their only contact with something that they think is Engineering is when they have someone repair their domestic equipment, and the media adds to this ignorance by talking about Engineers clearing trees from railway lines.

“National Grid found that the majority of people asked to name one Engineering achievement that had affected their lives were unable to do so.

Until people are helped to understand that professional Engineers are responsible for everything that is made (and I realise this can be good or bad), we will lose our best young people to other subjects and callings.”

So, what would happen if institutions across the globe were to lose their Engineering cohort to other specialisations?

What would modern life be without devices, computer software, complex mathematics, heavy-duty vehicles and scientific programmes? How could we ever fully appreciate aesthetics without the stunning architectural designs that grace cities all over the world; the Taj Mahal, Ferdinand Cheval Palace and even the Great Pyramids- Engineered by our Egyptian ancestors millennia ago. Imagine a society without any buildings at all, let alone the beautiful ones. These are all highly specialised fields that simply distil basic concepts, but they have gone on to serve as the fuel of civilisation itself.

Imagine no cities, no roads, no airports or any other kind of transportation network. What if there were no environmental laws, no operations to clean-up hazardous waste and no measures in place to avoid environmental issues- these are all crucial disciplines in the field of Engineering, and yet, they only scratch the surface.

If Engineering did not exist, and the world was not blessed with highly skilful Engineers, infrastructure would be an alien concept as there would be no roads, and also no vehicles to travel on them. It would be impossible to build any structure more complex than a hut. Any device, machine or even process you can think of that makes our lives even a little easier would be gone, along with civilisation, as we have come to know it.

Carleton-University-1

Carleton University

A world without the skilled people that fill these job roles is one that has broken down. To remove Engineering would degenerate humanity back to the most basic innovation; we would never have discovered the wheel, been able to hunt or forge the Seven Wonders of the World.

A world without Engineering would be a world without humanity, as it is our ability to design and to create that sets us apart from the rest of the natural world. It is our duty to ensure that there are enough skilled people to meet the future demand.

If you are interested in a career in engineering, the best way to give yourself a helping hand into the industry is through a high quality education. Read on for more information on some of the leading institutions offering world-standard engineering programs:

SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK- UK

The University of Warwick is one of the UK’s leading universities and holds the prestigious accolade of the Times and Sunday Times University of the Year. The University is particularly known for its excellence in research and teaching, for innovation, and for its strong links with business and industry. The School of Engineering consistently achieves a Top Ten position in the UK subject league tables and was recently ranked by the Times and Sunday Times the 4th best general engineering School in the UK. The breadth of engineering topics offered, the active research culture, established links with business and industry, and access to the latest technologies ensure that graduates are equipped to meet the challenges they will face in modern industry or in further studies. Read the full profile…

FACULTY OF COMPUTING, ENGINEERING AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT (CEBE), BIRMINGHAM CITY UNIVERSITY- UK

With around 22,500 students from 80 different countries, Birmingham City University is a large, diverse and popular place to study. The University puts students at the heart of everything it does, giving them the best possible opportunity for success in the future. The CEBE’s vision is to create a powerful centre of technological excellence and innovation, to educate to the highest quality in technology and engineering, and to equip students with the technical skills they need to succeed in the workplace. The University’s close links to industry allow students to become involved in the latest research and make a real contribution to business. Read the full profile…

FACULTY OF ENGINEERING AND DESIGN, CARLETON UNIVERSITY- CANADA

From its very beginnings, Carleton University has welcomed the world, explored it in many fields of study and embraced the obligations of national and international citizenship. Carleton University’s research-intensive Faculty of Engineering and Design is recognized as a leader within Canada and beyond, offering one of the most extensive ranges of engineering and design programs in the country. As one of the Canada’s leading institutions in the study and research of engineering, architecture, industrial design, and information technology, the Faculty of Engineering and Design’s comprehensive platform of programs provides a challenging and diverse experience to more than 5,700 students. Read the full profile…

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY- SOUTH KOREA

SNU consistently ranks amongst the leading universities in the world and is within the Top Ten universities in Asia. The institute is rated as world-standard for research, employability of its students, teaching, facilities, innovation and inclusiveness, representing a fantastic choice for students throughout the world. SNU’s College of Engineering (CoE) is regarded amongst the world’s best engineering schools, renowned internationally for its technological innovations, outstanding research and ability to produce exceptional global leaders from its students. Students are prepared for success within their professional fields and are given the skills and knowledge to be able to contribute meaningfully to improving society within Korea and the wider world. Read the full profile…

COLLEGE OF STEM, YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY- USA

Youngstown State University (YSU) is an urban, research university that emphasises a creative, integrated approach to education, scholarship and service. YSU is proud to be the first, and only, STEM College in the State of Ohio, as well as the second STEM College in the whole of the USA. The University’s undergraduate engineering program has been ranked among the top 25% in the world by US News and the World Report, giving it global recognition and maintaining its reputation for academic prestige. The Youngstown Business Incubator is the Number 1 ranked university-affiliated business incubator in the world, and YSU STEM has faculty, staff and students constantly involved in their projects. Read the full profile…

DEPARTMENT OF ENGINEERING, UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER- UK

Located in one of the most iconic buildings in Europe at a top UK University and with a range of industry-focussed courses, the Department of Engineering at the University of Leicester attracts students from far and wide. At undergraduate level (first degree), you can specialise in Aerospace, Communications, Electronic, Mechanical, Software or General Engineering. With each type of course, you are given the opportunity of working for a year in industry or studying abroad between the second and third years of study. Read the full profile…

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING, FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY- U.S.A

The Florida Institute of Technology provides high-quality education to a culturally diverse student body seeking higher education opportunities. The university encourages students to serve within their local community and prepares them for entrance into the global workforce. It is globally renowned for its outstanding academic programmes, excellent faculty and its alumni success. The mission of Florida Tech’s College of Engineering (CoE) is to educate engineers and scientists who will be entrepreneurs or future leaders of industries, governments or academia. The CoE includes eight departments, the Human-Centred Design Institute and the School of Computing. Read the full profile…

COLLEGE OF SCIENCE, HEALTH AND ENGINEERING, LA TROBE UNIVERSITY- AUSTRALIA

La Trobe University is a diverse community of more than 33,000 students, with seven campuses across Australia. La Trobe has recently launched a new Bachelor of Engineering course that includes the option of a six-month industry placement. By working with industry, La Trobe has developed a degree that addresses the growing complexity of the engineering profession. As new industries and technologies emerge, engineers are expected to be able to work internationally and across traditional engineering disciplines. The new multidisciplinary Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at La Trobe prepares students to design sustainable and creative solutions to these complex, technical problems. Read the full profile…