Australia and its ever-booming economy are being hampered by its construction sector suffering from continued pandemic fallout, supply chain disruption, rising material prices, and a deepening shortage of skilled labor. As a remedy to that latter problem, a national education business is using drone technology in classroom-level instruction to encourage students to navigate those aerial assets into surveying careers.
Though education company She Maps supports the teaching of wider STEM learning in schools, its focus on drones has made its programs particularly appealing to students, teachers, and parents seeing employment opportunities in Australia’s surveying and geospatial labor shortage. With thousands of new positions opening up as aging skilled construction employees retire, She Maps is urging schools and pupils to turn the resulting shortfall hampering the building sector to their advantage by placing drone, mapping, surveying, and related data tech in the midst of curricula.
“There is a looming crisis in the construction industry, but She Maps is already ahead of the curve by running our programs in primary and secondary schools for several years,” said She Maps Chief executive officer Paul Mead , who cofounded the company in 2017 with his wife, Karen Joyce. “The aim of our programs is to capture the hearts and minds of students by demonstrating the power of drones and potential career pathways.”
As an effort to accelerate its drone education efforts, She Maps has unveiled its “Partnering for Purpose Model” – a multi-pronged approach with the intention of inspiring future generations of surveying and geospatial experts.
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That innovation draws from She Map’s six specialized programs adapted to increasing age and sophistication levels, and hones those toward the promotion of job opportunities available to people with advanced drone skills – especially as surveyors in the labor-stricken construction sector.
“Career ambitions have been primarily shaped by family, friends, and the media, and (students) often have very clear ideas about ‘what they want to be’ when they get older,” said Mead. “At She Maps, we are passionate about the geospatial industry, but career options in the geospatial industry are invisible to the large majority of students.”
The increasing penury of skilled labor in Australia’s construction sector isn’t new, but it’s getting worse.
A 2019 study predicted a shortfall of over 300 surveyors needed by Australian contractors by 2023, a gap that’s been widening for the better part of a decade. Unless more students graduate with those qualifications, the current field of over 8,700 surveyors will continue to shrink as existing employees retire, adding to the already lengthening delays to deliver completed buildings. In addition to the skilled labor shortage, building companies have been rocked by supply chain disruptions and escalating materials cost.
There are no fast fixes to any of those problems. But She Maps believes its efforts to educate students early and often on using drones to learn surveying and mapping skills can go a long way toward relieving the nation’s skilled construction labor drought – and help students to solid and abundant surveyor jobs commanding higher than average salaries.