Engineers Australia, with the support of its principal partners, including La Trobe University, hosted an Industry focused lunch to raise awareness of the critical role Advanced Manufacturing will play in securing the future success of the Victorian economy. The Hon David Hodgett MP, Minister for Ports, Minister for Major Projects and Minister for Manufacturing was the keynote speaker and delivered an important address outlining how the Government's policy will impact the Victorian economy and engineering jobs of today and the future.
The Minister indicated that over the next decade, Australia will need to realise additional sources of income and employment to support long-term economic growth, particularly in the non-resources sector. A major potential source of growth is in the advanced manufacturing sector. High value-add or advanced manufacturing industries have the potential to play a significant role in supporting the long-term growth of Australia. Minister Hodgett provided background information, context and an examination of Australia's comparative advantage in the sector, to the resurgence of manufacturing in advanced economies.
According to Minister Hodgett, Victoria was considered by many international investors as a pool for Engineering talent, including excellent graduates from numerous world class Universities. The minister paid particular attention to the growth in small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Melbourne's north which have been integrating electro mechanical automation systems to all aspects of business. The Melbourne's North Innovation and Investment Fund (MNIIF) is a $24.5 million competitive, merit-based grants program and eligible projects will focus on encouraging new investment to create new or additional business capacity that results in sustainable jobs.
"This will significantly boost cost effective solutions and allow Australian manufacturers to compete in the global market. The Engineering Department at La Trobe University has already begun to form ongoing partnerships with several manufacturing SMEs," says Eddie Custovic, Lecturer, La Trobe University. A great example of this is the 6 month internship placement of La Trobe University Engineering student Matthew Lewis with On the Move Caravans. This company contacted La Trobe providing an opportunity for a student to take part of some cutting edge innovative manufacturing of caravans.
"La Trobe University Engineering graduates have a unique set of skills which our Department fosters throughout the course, the ability to examine a business and provide innovative engineering solutions to increase productivity, efficiency and revenue. In the 21st century, the engineer is not only a problem solver, he/she is also responsible for demonstrating the necessity of engineering to any business and that it is instrumental in economic growth. It is our goal to establish ongoing partnerships with other local industries and together help grow the Victorian manufacturing capabilities through innovative and sustainable practices," says Eddie.
The Institution of Engineers Australia, often shortened to IEAust and trading as Engineers Australia, is a professional body and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to being the national forum for the advancement of the engineering field within Australia. As of 2013, it has over 100,000 members from all engineering disciplines, including 41,000 Students, 4,400 Engineering Technologists and Engineering Associates, 55,600 Professional Engineers.
The Engineering Department at La Trobe University invites other industry bodies that are interested in collaborating with the university. For further details, please contact Eddie Custovic