Renew. Energy Environ. Sustain.
Volume 2, 2017
Sustainable energy systems for the future
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Published online||29 September 2017|
Sustainable energy education: addressing the needs of students and industry in Australia
School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdoch University,
2 Australian National University, Canberra, Australia
3 University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
4 University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia
5 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
* e-mail: C.Lund@murdoch.edu.au
Received in final form: 26 July 2017
Accepted: 27 July 2017
A survey has been carried out of graduates and employers working in the sustainable energy (SE) industry in Australia. The aims were to identify the key areas of content to be included in University level SE training and the type of degree structures that are most appropriate for SE professionals. Attention was also directed to the mode of instruction (online, blended or face-to-face) and the role of work-integrated learning (WIL). This paper presents the results of the survey, which provide guidance to Universities seeking to develop new, or revise existing, SE education offerings. The results of the survey clearly indicate that responding students and employers prefer a generalist degree in engineering, with a stream in sustainable energy as the initial qualification for professionals in this field. Specialist degrees at postgraduate level were also considered appropriate for continuing professional education (CPE). Both graduates and employers agreed on key areas to be included in the SE courses. These key areas are generic skills (research methods, team work, report writing), generation technologies (especially PV, wind and biomass), and enablers (such as economics, policy and project management). The graduates, many of whom came from overseas countries, generally agreed about the course content and its relevance to employment in their countries. Face-to-face or blended learning was preferred by both groups as the mode of instruction for the first degree. Online learning was considered a valuable adjunct in the undergraduate course and more suitable for CPE in postgraduate courses. WIL and more practical work were considered important, especially in the first degree. There was some disagreement about the appropriate length of work placements, with graduates preferring 6–8 weeks and employers 10–12 weeks. This work should provide a basis for further course development and curriculum reform for sustainable energy education.
© C. Lund et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2017
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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