Western Sydney University launches program for aspiring Indigenous engineers

Today, Western Sydney University launched its Indigenous Engineering Aspire Program — a new internship program that aims to support the career development of aspiring Indigenous engineers.

The program, which forms part of the School of Engineering’s ongoing commitment to improving the representation of Indigenous people in Technology and Engineering, will connect students with industry partners through internships, mentoring, and workplace training. It will also offer global experiences and the option to join a talent pool.

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, Strategy and Consultation, Professor Michelle Trudgett, welcomed the innovative program.

“Across the higher education sector, engineering is traditionally a discipline that has not been successful in attracting a large volume of Indigenous students,” said Professor Trudgett.

“By opening up opportunities for students through a dedicated program, we can ensure Indigenous students are well supported throughout their degrees and reach their potential as the next generation of talented Indigenous engineers.”

Dean of the School of Engineering, Professor Mike Kagioglou, said the program would build upon the school’s strong engagement with industry.

“Working in partnership, we can provide unique opportunities for valuable internships and placements to mobilise our Indigenous students,” said Professor Kagioglou.

“This collaboration will bring significant benefits to all parties and I look forward to the development of this unique national and global initiative.”

According to Associate Dean (Engagement) from the School, Associate Professor Olivia Mirza, the program was initiated as a catalyst for change.

“To improve Indigenous participation in engineering, including in Greater Western Sydney, we need to take a broader perspective that recognises the complex interaction of family, social, cultural and educational contexts, and the importance of knowledge and cultural identity to Indigenous communities,” said Associate Professor Mirza.

Today’s program launch was attended by partners, industry and community leaders, including leader of Waco Kwikform’s Design and Estimation Team, Peta Heffernan, and WSP Senior Talent Acquisition Consultant, Marie Victor. Wiradjuri man Chris Moore, who is studying a Double Degree of Engineering (Civil) and Business (Finance), and working for Arcadis as an Engineering Undergraduate, was also present.

Engineering students and industry partners wishing to learn more about the program can contact Associate Professor Mirza, at o.mirza@westernsydney.edu.au.


8 December 2020

Ali Sardyga, Media Officer