Educating the next generation of sustainable engineers

Mauricio Dwek, Education Development Manager at Ansys, on how the manufacturing sector must lead and educate the next generation of leaders & engineers

The acute green skills shortage is resulting in missed opportunities as we accelerate towards net zero goals. More support in education, for individuals and across businesses, is required to ensure the UK workforce is prepared for changes in the climate and efforts towards a more sustainable society. 80% of the people who will be employed in 2030 are already in the workforce today, meaning a large majority of workers will have to be retrained and upskilled for the changing tides of sustainability, low carbon efforts and green careers.

Training the next generation of engineers, scientists, designers, and architects needs equal amounts of strategic planning, futurology, and easily consumable and available skills learning, whether in person or online. Simulated software courses produce practical learning, to integrate seamlessly within existing subjects. Most universities and engineering institutions have some sort of existing sustainable development courses in their curriculum, with varying degrees of relevance, depth, and intensity. But how are they addressing the current fragility of the global network of interconnected supply changes and the need for more resilient environmental, social, and economic systems? 

Solving the unsolvable with a new generation of manufacturing leaders

Providing innovative simulation learning and development tools allows R&D teams to accomplish advanced progress in sustainable development. Not only is it critical to provide educational tools to large industrial companies who are putting plenty of funding on the table for ambitious climate targets, but additionally for academic programmes and student teams to raise the next generation of sustainable engineers and leaders. Many popular courses Ansys provides are climate-focused:

  • 73% of respondents are undertaking courses about sustainable materials
  • 53% interested in sustainable product design

Ambitious efforts in hard-to-abate industries, such as the high-carbon energy and transport sectors, requires a wealth of skills to overcome challenges in sustainable fuels, electrification, and the production of better batteries. Adding in sustainable themes to the forefront of higher education, particularly in relation to electrical engineering, science, technology, and math topics will be instrumental in addressing global green challenges. 

Expertly designed software functionalities for top manufacturing

The pandemic saw a worldwide shift to digital and hybrid classes, a trend which remains in sustainable development educational efforts. The demand is evident: learners enjoy software solutions that offer real-time simulation of the behaviours of society and concepts through the lens of sustainability. Simulation tools can help beginners better understand operating and characteristics quickly and in real time. Critically, for many sustainability projects, simulation can help optimise performance and efficiency, providing students with actionable learning rather than reading in textbooks or attending classroom lectures. 

The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals needs the next generation

The United Nations outlines 17 clear goals to promote sustainable development across the world, with decent work and economic growth, strong industry innovation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities and quality education included. Engineering educators can help the UN achieve a number of these goals with collaborative research and development news and interdisciplinary and project-based teaching in science, design, and architecture courses. 

To make cities and infrastructures more resilient and sustainable, with reduced consumption, fostering interactions in the academic community will allow educators to prepare the next generation of professionals in the workforce, who are armed with sustainability knowledge and skills to meet 21st century challenges. 

 

Byline by Mauricio Dwek, Education Development Manager at Ansys 

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