Engineers like the idea of claiming their primacy as problem solvers. But while this ability will always be critical for engineers, there is more to engineering than just solving problems. Engineering careers have become highly diverse over the past 50 years. They are now tackling complex social issues such as poverty, inequality, disaster recovery or climate change. Their work is in mega cities and small towns, remote communities and in both high and low-income countries. Taylor’s University is catching up with this new reality, where missions to educate the less privileged youth about engineering field were instilled in the modules of School of Engineering (SOE).
SOE Senior Lecturer, Douglas Tong made sure that his students understand that, as future engineers, they can go beyond just learning how to design and build things. Students need to understand that engineering is also about dealing with the community and the issues of public interest. On 26th & 27th May 2018, 103 SOE students under the Community Service Initiative module ran an engineering workshop to inspire 64 marginalized youths from Dignity for Children Foundation and SOLS 24/7 to take ownership of their lives, to commit to their education, to see a good future for themselves and perhaps to consider a technical career as a stepping stone to a better life.
The SOE students mentored the youths on how engineering works and to create an engineering product with a business value. Despite it being quite theoretical at the start, the youths were very involved in the process of providing their thoughts, feedbacks and creating their product. A student from the school shared that their youths not only made a better product, but also managed to crack the reason why their product did not move as far.
This 2-day session have taught the youths that Engineering is fun and that it does not cost much to create a product. All groups did not only create a product with a business value – they have also successfully done it at a low cost using recycled items.
Here’s some feedback from the students:-
“Our mentors helped us a lot. Although we asked so many questions, they were ever ready to teach us with so much patience. I really love my group mentors!” – Shaqraz, Dignity for Children Foundation
“Our participants are super young but I see a lot of potential in them. We feel like they lack the opportunity and it pains us. This makes us want to help them more” – Chun Yik & Farah from Team Skywalkers (SOE Students)
“We taught our group members CDIO concept (Conceive, Design, Implement & Operate), return of investment and presentation skills. With that, they did the entire project with minimal supports from our side. The youths thought the product would be very expensive to build a product, but they were shocked to learn that they can use recycled goods to create a product. We taught them and they learn so fast – our entire team were so mesmerized watching their growth in this 2 days” – Priya from PD Group (SOE Student)