Civil engineers should be made to retrain and obtain new qualifications to prepare for future technologies, a report by New Civil Engineer in conjunction with Bentley Systems has concluded.
There was overwhelming support for retraining and upskilling from the 100 civil engineers surveyed as part of the Readiness for Industry 4.0 report, which was officially launched at Bentley’s Year in Infrastructure conference yesterday. Forty two per cent identified upskilling with new qualifications as the best route to take, with retraining on the job also cited by 37%.
It comes after the World Economic Forum identified civil engineering as a discipline that is set to decline between now and 2022.
While 34% of respondents said their firm is developing competency in advanced data analytics, just 29% lay claim to their firm being at the stage of using it.
It is the same story when it comes to exploiting sensors and the Internet of Things; 30% of those polled said their firms are developing competence, but just 27% are using it at any level. And with artificial intelligence and machine learning readiness to use them is even lower, with 41% of respondents saying their firms are not even pursuing the technology, let alone trialling or developing it.
The report identifies the “lead blocker” as “a perception at corporate level that the return on investment is too uncertain”.
But skills gaps resulting from a failure to adopt new technology are also seen as significant, with more than a quarter citing lack of talent or expertise at workforce level as one of the biggest challenges to widespread adoption of technology.
The report concludes: “The clear conclusion so far is that it can no longer be acceptable that a qualification, once earned, is earned for life […] a cycle of reassessment and further learning is almost certain to become a requirement of the professional engineer going forward and it seems like that awareness and understanding of how to exploit and work with technologies such as those described here will become a part of the requirement.
“There is also a major issue to address around initial education standards, and how to adapt to the next generation of engineers who have grown up as coders.”
The report also highlights the ongoing work by the ICE to address mid-peer reviews as set out in its In plain sight review launched earlier this week.
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