22 June, 2024

Engineers Without Borders UK launches tool to address sustainability skills gap in engineering

13 June, 2023

Engineers Without Borders UK has launched the Global Responsibility Competency Compass, with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering. The tool was launched at Manufacturing & Engineering Week, which took place at Birmingham’s NEC.

The self-led educational tool has been developed to help engineers respond effectively to the complexity and uncertainty of pressing global challenges such as climate change and will help individuals and their wider teams reflect on their strengths and weaknesses, highlighting gaps in the skills needed to act sustainably, ethically, and equitably.

The launch event emphasised the need for practitioners working in engineering to be motivated and competent to participate in the urgent and rapid transition to a net zero economy. Data from the Institution of Engineering & Technology has highlighted that only 7% of companies surveyed had the necessary skills to deliver their sustainability strategy.

Developed through extensive consultation and testing, the Compass comprises 12 essential competencies to deliver on the four principles of global responsibility – Responsible, Purposeful, Inclusive and Regenerative – articulating the vital skills, knowledge and mindsets required.

The Engineering Council is endorsing the use of the Compass as a “progressive interpretation of the UK standard for professional qualifications for engineers and technicians”.

“The Global Responsibility Competency Compass is an introductory and action-orientated tool aimed at anyone in the engineering sector who wants the skills to respond effectively to the complexity, uncertainty and challenges of our age,” says John Kraus, CEO of Engineers Without Borders UK, a charity organisation whose mission is to put global responsibility at the heart of engineering, ensuring a safe and just future for all. “It is a learning tool for individuals and teams, giving confidence that responsible engineering principles are being embedded at every level and that decisions made balance the needs of all people with the limits of our planet.”

Individuals can use the Compass to support self-assessment. It provides a template to create a sustainability skills action plan, using a learning library of relevant professional development opportunities and resources. According to Engineers Without Borders UK, embedding the tool into day-to-day activities will strengthen the evidence individuals need to attain and retain professional qualifications.

The tool also helps managers to identify and articulate the strengths and gaps in team capabilities regarding responsible engineering. It empowers teams to ensure projects deliver the greatest benefit to people and the planet and can support engineering organisations to assess and bridge the sustainability skills gap across their entire workforce.

Kraus added that the organisation developed the Global Responsibility Competency Compass as a practical resource:  “We want it to help practitioners make better decisions, leading to improved outcomes for everyone and the planet we share.”

With the development of the Global Responsibility Competency Compass, Engineers Without Borders UK has taken a significant step towards providing engineering professionals with the navigation tools that will allow them not only to understand what is important but to commit to making a difference to the way they support society now and for generations to come.

John Kraus concluded: “Closing the global responsibility skills gap in our profession is a collective responsibility, and Engineers Without Borders UK, its partners and supporters are committed to upskilling at least 250,000 individuals by 2030. Become a responsible practitioner and start using the Compass today”.

Engineers Without Borders UK is working to reach the tipping point to ensure a safe and just future for all. Part of a global movement of over 60 Engineers Without Borders organisations, we inspire, upskill and drive change in the engineering community and together take action to put global responsibility at the heart of engineering.



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