A new initiative aims to elevate the voice of engineers in public policy and the community on issues of national economic, social, environmental and cultural significance.
No profession has quite the same impact on the environment, the skyline, or the way people live their lives as engineering.
Engineers Australia’s new External Voice Project (EVP) aims to harness the multidisciplinary expertise of engineers, and build the profession’s profile and influence on public policy.
Through the EVP, Engineers Australia aims to ensure that the voices of its more than 100,000 individual members are represented, and that engineers can shape public debate on the big issues.
The EVP provides a robust, strategic and repeatable framework to identify key advocacy opportunities where engineers can have the most impact: technology and industry, infrastructure, energy and climate change.
These workstreams were chosen because they are complex public issues with demand for action, and for which engineering is vital to success. As part of the EVP, each will have its own Workstream Steering Group, including Engineers Australia member experts, non-member engineers and non-engineer experts.
“Our EVP is designed to ensure that issues are identified, explored and analysed through a strategically-focused process of broad stakeholder engagement to provide technical leadership and collective action,” said Engineers Australia General Manager, Policy and Advocacy Jonathan Russell.
“Our aim is to harness the transformative potential of engineers as proactive contributors to public life, delivering value for government, industry and the community.”
Russell and Engineers Australia Chief Engineer Jane MacMaster will discuss the EVP and how to get involved at an information session on 29 September.
A ‘T-shaped’ profession
To enhance the reputation of engineering within public life, it is important to demonstrate that engineering is a ‘T-shaped’ profession, meaning it is both technically competent and socially engaged.
“The EVP leverages the technical capability of our organisation and membership, to build an advocacy program that delivers community-wide understanding that engineering is a ‘T-shaped’ profession that has both deep technical expertise (the vertical) and wide social engagement and relevance (the horizontal),” Russell said.
While engineers are already competent at contributing authoritative technical perspectives to public policy debates, it is important to show how this technical expertise contributes to society and the greater good.
“We want to improve our capacity to discuss the relevance of the engineering profession and the value of Engineers Australia in ways that are fit for their context,” Russell said.