Engineers Australia advocates for engineers locally and abroad, and an essential part of the organisation’s role is building fruitful and responsive partnerships with like-minded organisations globally.
During a recent tour of engineering and research facilities in Europe, Engineers Australia CEO Romilly Madew AO FTSE HonFIEAust EngExec, National President Dr Nick Fleming FIEAust CPEng and Group Executive, Member and Customer Sarah Jenkins witnessed tangible marvels of innovation and productivity.
The visit strengthened Engineers Australia’s international relations and provided valuable insights into global engineering processes.
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The trip started in Denmark, where Madew and Fleming met with representatives from the software company Systematic and toured the innovative Amager Bakke green energy plant, run by Amager Resource Centre (ARC).
ARC is a public utility company that handles almost all aspects of waste management in the Danish capital area, supports 90,000 houses in the region and even imports waste from the UK.
The carbon capture technology implemented at the Amager Bakke plant is designed to capture 500,000 t of carbon dioxide each year.
At both an Engineers Australia members’ breakfast and industry lunch hosted by Her Excellency Kerin Ayyalaraju, Australian Ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Madew and Fleming discussed with attendees: the impact of the war in Ukraine; skills shortages; how to increase the number of women in engineering (which in Denmark is 33 per cent of engineers, double that of Australia); the growth of offshore wind turbines; and the importance of industry and academic partnerships.
They also had the opportunity to meet with the Danish Society of Engineers (IDA), which represents the interests of 145,000 members studying or working in STEM.
The IDA has announced an alliance with UK engineering organisations to develop national energy and climate change plans. These aim to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases to a sustainable level and help limit global temperature increase to 2°C.
Multiple Danish universities were also on the destination list, such as the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), whose Skylab is a “living lab” for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Skylab matches state-of-the-art technology and science with an ambitious and open community where students, researchers and corporate partners meet to exchange knowledge and develop visionary solutions for real-world challenges.
The facility represents a convergence of technologies and talent from different fields, which, combined with an entrepreneurial mindset, creates a unique culture of innovation and learning.
Madew and Fleming spoke with researchers about tiny farms and using drones for solar inspections.
“We very much appreciated Philip Binning and Mikkel Sorenson [for] briefing us, sharing their knowledge and taking us on a tour,” Madew said.
engineer sydney
It was then off to Dublin for the middle stretch of the itinerary, where Madew and Fleming met with President Edmund Harty and Director General Damien Owens of Engineers Ireland to renew the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) between both institutions.
Engineers Ireland, which aligns its strategic intent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, has developed fast-track programs that provide high-potential technical staff with apprentice and craft skills to develop a range of non-technical skills.
The original MRA was signed in 2009, and the 2023 renewal allows for updated definitions and terminology to better align Engineers Australia and Engineers Ireland with the International Engineering Alliance.
“This agreement upholds international engineering standards in qualifications and practice,” Madew said.
The third and final destination was London. This part of the trip included a visit to the Centre of Excellence for Modern Construction, run by Laing O’Rourke, the largest privately owned construction company in the UK.
Of particular interest here was the Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) principles embodied by Laing O’Rourke. The company’s DfMA 70:60:30 model allows it to take 70 per cent of construction offsite into a controlled environment, delivering a 60 per cent improvement in efficiency and a 30 per cent improvement in project schedule.
Reflecting on the entire trip, Madew, Fleming and Jenkins were struck by the breadth of innovation and cooperation on show across each country.
To read more about the trip, view Madew’s LinkedIn posts from the trip.
Lachlan Haycock is a journalist and translator who has written for publications in Australia and abroad. His passion for all things Indonesian is second only to the accurate use of apostrophes on public signage.
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