About the Community
In Australia, student and professional engineers constantly face challenges due to disability. This can be a result of cognitive, physical or psychological impairments that can negatively impact admittance into higher education or employment into the industry. Pervasive paternalism detailing what people with disabilities can and can’t do, should and shouldn’t do, poses a significant barrier to entry to engineering faculty and subsequent employment. This is often based on false presumptions about what people with disabilities can actually achieve. Despite this, there are many talented, successful and safe engineers with various impairments. Using some goodwill and imagination, a person’s limitations can often be overcome with reasonable adjustments to their environment, support system or use of technological aids.
The field of engineering encompasses a wide range of specialties, each requiring different skillsets and physical requirements. Like every other engineer wishing to specialise, a person with a disability will seek a speciality that best suits their capabilities.
With one in five Australians identifying themselves as having some sort of physical impairment, we argue that society is better served by having engineers with real-life experiences contributing to the industry. This would encourage diversity, inclusivity, innovation and result in new technologies to aid in overcoming their day-to-day difficulties. This experience can produce engineers with greater compassion for their genuine interest in engineering.
This organisation brings together the people that have persevered, beaten the odds and developed into successful engineers. Not only this, Engineers Australia encourages and advocates for those aspiring to follow in their footsteps. Intending to reduce physical, psychological, attitudinal and social barriers, Engineers with Disabilities – Australia (EWDA) provides advocacy and peer support on matters associated with engineering study and engineers with a disability.
Our objectives are to:
- Create a social space where individuals with similar experiences can come together and support each other.
- To reduce or eliminate barriers to entry, social stigma and disability bias among the engineering profession.
- Provide national advocacy and awareness, making a body for engineering students and engineers with disability in Australia.
- To create resources and give professional advice on improving engineering education and access to the industrial workplace for engineering students and engineers with disability.