At the YPF10, in Canberra back on Aug19-20, we had short workshop sessions where a number of topics were discussed amongst small breakout groups.
One of the sessions was “Evolving technical and skills requirements”. A round-the-table poll of the participants asked “what 1 skill is most important in your mind?”
Here are the results:
Learning from mistakes
Recall the group topic: “Evolving technical and skills requirements”.
Would it have been fair to expect responses like “online design review techniques”, “blowdown calculations”, “charpy test results interpretation”, “reading material certs”, “weld design”. I thought so. Yet only one response referred to technical skills. Thirteen of the 15 participants were engineers.
So either they (we) are comfortable with our technical skills and therefore they don’t need a mention, or, only one of those 15 people are actually doing technical work?
It is often suggested that universities should add more ‘soft skills’ to their degrees. If that happens, which technical/higher learning courses should get bumped?
Another comment made was that hardly any of the topics learned at university were actually used in their day-to-day jobs. And only one of them had been exposed to P&IDs (Process and Instrument Diagrams) during university.
So is there an opportunity, or a need, to change university engineering degree content? Should we put more credence on technical colleges and TAFE (Technical and Further Education)? Or are we worrying about the wrong thing – that uni education is fine (its purpose is to teach us how to solve problems), and we should focus on providing enhancement information in the first 5 years of a grad’s working career?
The APGA Competencies go a long way to introduce structured learning for pipeline engineers. They have purposefully not addressed the ‘soft skill’ requirements, because (we assumed) there are other resources available, like the AIPM (Australian Institute of Project Management) which will cover those areas.
Are we wrong?