Professionals Australia has won a landmark case that will ensure student and graduate engineers Queensland are paid fairly for vacation, internship and cadetship work.
The Full Bench of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has ruled that student engineers undertaking vacation work, as well as first and second year graduate engineers, will now have fair pay and conditions enshrined in an Award, as a result of Professionals Australia’s advocacy efforts.
Until this decision, student engineers often went unpaid for vacation work, while graduate engineers were paid extremely poorly.
This case is expected to inform many other Awards, and will ensure that young engineers are fairly rewarded in a wide range of local government, roads and public sector settings.
Professionals Australia CEO Chris Walton said that this decision was a significant win for respecting and encouraging the work of young engineers.
“This is also a win for public sector engineering agencies. By providing fair pay and conditions, agencies will be better placed to attract young professionals who will bring energy, skill and commitment for many years.
“The industry desperately wants young engineers with work experience, particularly experience that has seen them working with mature and knowledgeable engineers, so it is vital that we make it fair to undertake this kind of work.
“It is really important for the future of the profession that young engineers can choose to work in either the private or public sector, rather than be faced with having to choose to work in the private sector, purely because it pays. This decision creates a level playing field on which young engineers can make important career choices.
“This case was prosecuted based on the situation at Queensland Rail. Rail now has a skills imperative to encourage young engineers into its industry.
The Australasian Railway Association has found that demand for rail engineers now outstrips current employment by 40 per cent and that competition for engineers is now global.
“This win is certainly a step in the right direction for attracting young engineers into rail, but more broadly, it is hoped it will encourage them into public sector engineering more broadly.