The need for collaboration, innovation and reskilling were hot topics for debate at the latest virtual Brunel lecture, which featured speakers from Europe.
A “massive repurposing and retraining” of existing engineers is needed to make up for the skills gap in the sector in tackling climate change, according to Seth Schultz, executive director of The Resilience Shift , speaking on the Europe leg of the Brunel International Lecture series virtual tour.
Schultz gave his opening lecture on 2 December 2020 and is now on a global tour, taking in seven stops around the world, as he presents 21st Century Leadership is Partnership: How a Coalition of the World’s Engineers Can Change the World. Regional lectures include a bespoke version of the opening lecture with more time allocated for discussion between Schultz and key industry leaders.
While the confidence, trust and rigour of the engineering profession came through codification, the practice had calcified, he said. "The very way we do business needs to be torn down, rethought, and rebuilt."
Priorities for skills included energy efficiency, renewable electricity, decarbonising industry and carbon sequestration, with resilient infrastructure underpinning everything, he said.
“Engineers need to think about the role that they play in a very different way. They have a set of skills - they're pragmatic, they are systems thinkers, they're highly trusted. But in order to take those skills and be force multipliers, you need to get up out of your existing sandbox, and into another one.”