Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Upskill or be ousted by machines, engineers told

Future tech 3x2

Engineers must improve their digital and communication skills to avoid becoming subservient to machines, according to ICE vice president Ed McCann.

Speaking at the NCE100 Future Engineer Breakfast Club in London, McCann warned that recent innovations in digital technology put swathes of traditional engineering roles at risk, particularly those who work with complex calculations.

“Things which are easily described as a series of sequential actions, they are being automated and wiped out,” he said.

“If you can write it down as a series of steps then the machines will do it…an awful lot of what our people do is going to go.”

Later McCann argued that an industry shift towards much larger companies puts more pressure on engineers to become better communicators.

“Skills in the future, if we continue with the trend of gigantification of organisations, are going to be much, much more about complex organisations than they are to solve equations and produce drawings and deal with site operatives,” he said.

McCann is leading a six-month review into what skills the industry needs and how the shortage is being tackled. Findings from the research will be presented to the ICE in April as recommendations on how to address skills needs in the future.


Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.