AUT to launch unique engineering course

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AUT is to launch a new major next year aimed at combating a significant shortage in New Zealand.

The Building Engineering major will be available under AUT’s Bachelor of Engineering Technology degree. Both the major and the degree are unique to AUT in New Zealand.

The Building Engineering major focuses on facilities management, surveying and health and safety. New Zealand has only one engineering technician to every engineer whereasm in other developed countriesm this ratio is 4:1.

The Head of Built Environment at AUT’s School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Professor John Tookey, says industry demand has driven the launch of the major.

“At the moment there is a clear and significant shortfall of engineers, both worldwide and in New Zealand,” Mr Tookey says.

“Our industry partners keep telling us there is a strong demand for new infrastructure, but also to maintain and sustain existing infrastructure. We agreed that there needs to be engineers tasked directly in the development, management and maintenance of constructed infrastructure, so have created this specific major.”

AUT’s engineering programme is currently based entirely at its Auckland CBD campus, but this new major will be offered only at AUT’s South Campus. Professor Tookey says that, again, is for industry reasons.

“There are more than 2400 construction companies in the Penrose area of Auckland alone, and the majority of big construction company headquarters are based in South Auckland,” he says.

“We take industry engagement seriously and we will get them involved in all of our papers. This will help companies find future talent, and help graduates find future employers — all on each others’ doorsteps.

Professor Tookey says the other reason to base the major at the South Campus is to attract more Maori and Pacific people into engineering degrees.

“The industry needs to be more reflective of society, and that means getting more Maori and Pacific students into study. Our South Campus already has strong links with the community, and we hope to build on that with this major to ensure the industry is as diverse as the population it serves.”

AUT South Campus executive director Richard Hall says the construction business is a large part of the South Auckland economy.