DESPITE the slow demise of the automotive and manufacturing industries in Australia, engineering still presents a challenging and rewarding career path.
Times are changing, however - it's no longer enough to rely solely on solid engineering skills. Today's engineers need to present a full suite of associated skills to offer potential employers maximum benefit.
The growth of the oil and gas industry is highlighting the importance of a diverse skill set, and companies expect more from their staff, while also being more prepared to offer specialist training to ensure their workers keep pace with industry advances.
Coffs Harbour-based W.E. Smith Engineering is a leading manufacturer of process equipment for the oil and gas, petrochemicals and minerals processing industries, and as such is well aware of the changing face of engineering.
A company representative said increases in competition and higher product expectations required more refined designs, in turn putting increased importance on modelling and analysis.
"Product specifications have become more stringent causing higher workload and expectations, while delivery times and margins have reduced," she said.
"In a highly technical and heavy engineering environment, the necessity of working in a team is a must and everyone needs a high level of ownership for the business to succeed."
As the need for broader skill sets grows, so too do demands on work management - if engineers are expected to do more, they then need to be able to manage their time so as to complete the required work.
"At WES we continually train our engineers in-house because it's such a special field ..." she said.
"Apart from the necessary technical ability and proven experience to perform a particular role, WES places a very high value on new staff having excellent communication skills and the ability to follow through exceptionally difficult tasks or situations to completion."