Experience, education and training on Aboriginal Cultural Heritage in engineering
Previous research has highlighted the need for engineers to have some background knowledge of Indigenous Australian histories, cultures and politics, in order to adhere to relevant legislation protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage. This study explored recent engineering graduates' experiences of managing Aboriginal cultural heritage matters in engineering projects, their experience of related education and training, and their perceptions of preparedness for effectively managing heritage protections. An online survey of engineering graduates was developed and distributed through networks of young engineers across Australia. The results indicate that it is common for young engineers to encounter Aboriginal cultural heritage on engineering project sites. Survey participants received little formal education on Aboriginal cultural heritage beyond high school, and reported low levels of confidence in dealing with such heritage matters. It was also apparent that education and training, particularly within higher education, is lagging behind legislated requirements for engineers and project managers. With the continued growth of Australia's population, large infrastructure projects will continue to impact on Aboriginal cultural heritage. Young engineers will need to be prepared to meet evolving legal and societal expectations for the preservation of the nation's Aboriginal heritage.