Elizabeth Croft, the dean at the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne, believes that Australia needs to produce more engineers in order to support its burgeoning industries in resources, technology and infrastructure.

“Australia produces far too few engineers,” she told the Investing News Network at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC).

She said that universities in the vibrant resources jurisdiction are turning away aspiring engineers, even as Australia underproduces up to 6,100 engineers per year.

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It is because of a combination of factors like government caps on domestic student funding, an overreliance on attracting students from overseas and engineering schools’ failure to market themselves.

The long-term impact on the resources industry, said Croft, is that it will “fail to deliver on large-scale projects.”

“Mining companies are screaming out for engineering talent, and they cannot find it.”

Croft was at IMARC to make her case to the industry, saying she needs industry leaders to help her take that message to the Australian government.

“It’s a matter of economic security to increase the number of engineers that are being produced.”

All this is taking place while the number of opportunities for engineers is growing rapidly, she said, adding that Australian universities and engineering schools have failed to attract young female high school graduates as well.

Croft’s specialties are artificial intelligence (AI) and human-robot interaction, so she’s particularly close to the opportunities for AI in the mining industry.

She said that, due to the unstructured nature of mining, “there will always be the need for humans in the loop” in the industry — meaning plenty of jobs.

She shared her thoughts on the exciting opportunities for AI in mining as well, pointing to the exploitation of tailings as a bright spot.

“We can do a lot more in using our technology and our AI to develop a much more sustainable and smaller mining footprint, and derive much more value from the outcomes of the work we do.”

Listen to the full interview with Croft above. You can also listen to our full list of IMARC interviews on YouTube here.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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