At the recent Bolder Goals for Stormwater event in Brisbane, Stormwater Queensland Committee Member Kelen Marczak Polli, shared her Bolder Goal for stormwater. During Kelen’s presentation, she delved into the topic of empowering the industry through gender, cultural, and socio-economic diversity. As someone from a low socio-economic background in Brazil to becoming an engineer at Arup in Australia, she shared the barriers to employment faced by many overseas-born engineers.

Below, she shares her perspective, some of the statistics of the Australian engineering workforce, the benefits diversity brings to the workplace and the barriers to employment faced by many overseas-born engineers:

Based on latest census data and Engineer’s Australia research report, women represent only 16% of qualified engineers in Australia. Overseas-born engineers make up over 62% of the engineering workforce in Australia. However, 47% of those actively seeking a job as an engineer are currently unemployed. Additionally, overseas-born female engineers have almost three times the unemployment rate of Australian-born female engineers. Learn more here.

Indications are that local experience and networks are essential for entering the engineering field in Australia. The industry can play a crucial role in improving the employment journey for migrant engineers by providing local opportunities and exposure through networking, mentoring, and internships.

One highlight of my presentation was introducing Engineers Australia’s Global Engineering Talent (GET) program. This initiative assists overseas-born engineers transition into the Australian job market with training and internships, benefiting both job-seeking engineers and businesses in need of skilled professionals. Learn more about the GET program and apply here.

If you are an overseas-qualified engineer in Queensland, don’t miss this opportunity! The GET program’s clean energy intake is open until June 14. This is a fantastic chance to gain invaluable local experience and connect with Australia’s engineering community.

For business, the GET program provides access to a steady pipeline of skilled engineers ready to jump on projects, while giving these engineers the opportunity to embark on a career with a local employer. Currently, the Queensland government is providing funding opportunities as part of Queensland’s Clean Energy Workforce Roadmap. Applications close on June 14, 2024.

Kelen Marczak Polli