24 May 2007

Electrical engineering and Information Technology are taking off at The University of Queensland – literally.

The University today, Friday May 25, launched three new aerospace degree programs and an agreement with 17 Queensland high schools allowing students direct entry into these programs.

Head of UQ’s School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (ITEE) Professor Paul Bailes said the new engineering and information technology specialties in Electrical and Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Software Systems and Aerospace Engineering fitted with Queensland’s growing reputation as Australia’s aerospace hub.

The opportunity for high-achieving students from the 17 “Aerospace Gateway Schools” to gain direct entry to these courses comes through a pilot program made possible by a collaboration between UQ, Education Queensland and aviation industry partners including Aviation Australia, Australian Aerospace, Smiths Aerospace, Boeing Australia Ltd and Brisbane Airport Corporation.

This pilot program is the first time that high school students have been offered direct entry to engineering programs at UQ and marks a new era in partnership between Education Queensland, industry and the University.

Professor Bailes said the announcement was a step forward for both the University and potential aerospace students.

“From the students' perspective, the transition from aerospace-oriented studies at school to aerospace-oriented studies at UQ will be much smoother, without even the shadow of doubt over their being accepted to the aerospace degree of their choice,” Professor Bailes said.

“From the university's perspective, we are able to accelerate the process of developing relationships with the best and most committed students, even before they complete high school.

“Furthermore, the institutional relationship with the Aerospace Gateway Schools opens up a range of possibilities in collaborative developments in teaching and wider student experience.”

Professor Bailes said the aerospace industry was a burgeoning one in Australia.

“The aerospace industry is a priority for UQ because it represents a domain where UQ's record of national leadership in teaching, combined with UQ's leading position in industry-oriented research, can be applied with significant social and industrial impact,” he said.

The “gateway” schools involved in the agreement are: Aviation High, Balmoral SHS, Bremer SHS, Brisbane SHS, Cairns SHS, Caloundra SHS, Good Shepherd Catholic College, Indooroopilly SHS, Iona College, Ipswich Grammar School, Miami SHS, Oakey SHS, Redbank Plains SHS, Springwood SHS, St Patrick’s College, Toowoomba SHS and Townsville SHS.

Media: Professor Bailes (07 3365 3869 or paul@itee.uq.edu.au) or Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2339 or t.taylor@uq.edu.au)