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The 2019 ENVI Awards are open for business and are inspiring a new generation of engineers

New Zealand’s engineering industry is a dynamic sector that is thriving, to the point where there is a skills shortage. Statistics show that just under five percent of New Zealand’s graduates at bachelor’s level or higher were engineers in 2014, whereas the OECD norm is 12 percent.

All OECD countries with less than nine percent engineering graduates are guaranteed to not be able to keep up with demand for engineers. Across the country, there’s a massive shortage of engineers with new roading projects, government-funded infrastructure and housing projects all needing staff, placing the many fields of engineering on Immigration New Zealand’s long term and immediate skill shortage lists.

It’s partly due to this that Engineering New Zealand has launched the 2019 ENVI? Awards, a new biennial awards programme which celebrates the brilliant work being done in an array of engineering disciplines.

The awards highlight the creativity, problem solving and vision that are happening in the industry. It hopes to encourage more talented young Kiwis to step foot into engineering, by challenging the perception some might hold that it’s only about structures and roading

The ENVI awards are also unique in the sense that as well as focusing on the technical details of specific projects, products or programmes, it  takes a broader approach that celebrates creativity, diversity and innovation of individuals and firms. This means the awards night is more inclusive, with some of the categories just as relevant to start-ups, creatives, technologists and others that are in the orbit of engineering projects.

“We have more of an umbrella approach to the industry as a whole, which means profiling the vision, the brilliance, the creativity and the technical complexity of all types of engineering,” Engineering New Zealand partnerships manager Bryony Lane says.

“We’re encouraging New Zealanders to think differently about how problems can be solved, and the wonder of engineering in everyday life.

This year’s awards feature nine categories to enter: Young Engineer of the Year, Engineering Leadership, Engineering Creativity, Engineering Impact, Engineering Innovation, Engineering Partnerships, Engineering Diversity, Engineering Education and the Supreme Award.

The Diversity Award is particularly poignant, given the work that’s been done by Engineering New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of Architects (NZIA) and Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) with their Diversity Agenda.

Launched in April last year, the Diversity Agenda is a movement to get 20 percent more women into architecture and engineering by 2021. Already, it has 95 organisations on board, which cover around 10,000 people.

The Creativity Award is also a new addition, and has already had a really positive response.

Lane says there’s not many awards programmes to enter that highlight the intersection of art, engineering and technology, so Engineering New Zealand is keen for start-ups with innovative products to think about entering this category, alongside engineering consulting firms.

“We want the creative sector to be looking at this, as entries don’t have to have a practical, every day sort of purpose,” Lane says. “It just has to incorporate engineering, but at the end of the day, it can be an amazing piece of art like the sculptures at Gibbs Farm, for example.”

Another award worth highlighting is the Engineering Education award. Engineering New Zealand, along with Callaghan Innovation and Trade Me, has already made a big push to promote STEM education through its new schools programme the Wonder Project. This new STEM initiative is currently  taking place in primary and secondary schools throughout New Zealand. It calls on the expertise and inspiration of engineering professionals from a large number of engineering consulting firms and companies like Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Trade Me to promote engineering as a career through stunts like setting off hydro-powered rockets to inspire the next generation.

Lane says any individual or team who is delivering inspiring engineering education or a significant imitative  can enter this category. It may include students or peer support, teaching, research or other significant imitatives that results in an enduring positive impact.

It’s also worth mentioning that the awards are free to enter thanks to sponsors of the event, and the awards process has been streamlined to make the experience as user-friendly as possible.

Overall, Lane says the ENVI Awards are a celebration of the engineering visionaries who are shaping the world around us, as well as those who work alongside them on innovative, creative projects.

Entries for the ENVI Awards are open until 2 August, with tickets on sale from 23 July. The awards night will be held at Auckland’s Shed 10 on 7 November. More details about the awards can be found here.


What? The 2019 ENVI Awards by Engineering New Zealand.
How? Register here to start the process.
When? Before August 2.
Why? To raise your company or individual profile and showcase the profession as a whole to generate funding and work andattract and retain top talent. 

Elly is Idealog's editor and resident dog enthusiast. She enjoys travelling, tea, good books, and writing about exciting ideas and cool entrepreneurs.

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