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Closing The Gap: Aurecon And UTS Partnership Develops Future Aboriginal And Torres Strait Islander Engineering Leaders


For the seventh year running, international engineering, design and advisory firm, Aurecon, is continuing its partnership with the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) to help close the employment gap by developing future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engineering leaders.

Aurecon supports the Engineering and IT stream of the Galuwa Experience and funds an Indigenous engineering scholarship.

The Galuwa Experience introduces senior high school students to undergraduate programs at UTS and connects them with industry mentors and role models.

Aurecon’s Diversity & Inclusion Manager – Australia & New Zealand, Penny Rush, emphasised the importance of building a pipeline of future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.

“Australia needs to ensure our engineers of the future reflect our community and include the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have been caretakers of this land for tens of thousands of years. These are the young people who will become business and community leaders – and role models for younger generations," Ms Rush said.

Paying it forward

In 1997, Mark Henaway, Associate at Aurecon, was the first person of Indigenous heritage in Australia to graduate with an electrical engineering degree, from Queensland University of Technology. Today, Mark is giving back to the profession by offering his time to the Galuwa Experience. In a live Q&A panel, he reflected on his career journey, hoping to inspire the next generation of Indigenous engineering leaders.

"This is a fantastic partnership that Aurecon is involved in. Higher education has given me the opportunity to explore the future of transport, challenge my belief system, and encourage others to aspire to engineering as a career,” Mr Henaway said.

“It is my pleasure to pay it forward and help pave the path for engineering opportunities for Indigenous students by sharing my experience.”

Mark and other Aurecon colleagues also participated in speed mentoring with high school students, sharing stories of the projects they have been involved in. The students asked about their experience working at Aurecon and opportunities in the engineering industry.

The Aurecon team also helped to create content for the Galuwa Experience portal, an online student portal hosting access to technical and non-technical resources as well as seminars. The hub reaches over 100 students across Australia, including remote regions

UTS’ Kaleena Smith – Manager, Indigenous Student Experience, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research expressed how the Galuwa Experience portal helps to open up tertiary opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

“Galuwa is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across the country to engage with UTS. Due to our current COVID restrictions we have moved our face to face program online. Our online resource: The Galuwa Experience portal is a place where future students can access information about courses, entry and also participate in online workshops and activities. It is our hope that the Galuwa Experience portal will encourage students to explore their options, ask questions and build confidence in choosing the degree that is right for them,” Ms Smith said.

Joshua Pye selected for Aurecon Galuwa Indigenous Engineering Scholarship

Joshua Pye from Mudgee, New South Wales, currently in his first year of tertiary studies, has been selected as the recipient of Aurecon’s $45,000 Galuwa Indigenous Engineering Scholarship.

Joshua was selected for his engineering passions and cultural fit with Aurecon. He was a very engaging and enthusiastic candidate who demonstrated his intentions to pursue transport engineering for his higher education studies. Many of Aurecon’s Attributes also shone through during the interview, including Resourceful, Sense Maker, Engaging and Inquisitive.

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