Deakin University opens state-of-the-art engineering training centre

Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus yesterday officially opened its new, $55 million Centre for Advanced Design in Engineering Training (CADET) facility.

Attended by industry representatives, senator Simon Birmingham and federal MP Sarah Henderson, those at the opening heard that the Australian-first facility was designed to match a changing industrial environment.

“Australia’s focus on industrial engineering has not been as prominent as in other countries and with the demise of mass automotive manufacturing there is a real risk of things actually moving backwards,” said the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander, in a statement.

“Deakin’s solution has been born out through the establishment of CADET, as well as the development of a design based curriculum built from international best practice.”

Described as an Australian-first approach to engineering education, CADET includes a virtual reality lab – enhanced by haptics (touch-based interaction) – and its settings are designed to suit “Problem Based Learning” and “Project Orientated Design Based Learning”. Among inspirations are engineering centres at Loughborough University and Stanford University.

“…For the first time, students will be able to learn how to engineer solutions to problems in a hands-on workplace environment, rather than the traditional passive theory-based model of learning inside a static lecture theatre,” said den Hollander.

Federal funding for the facility of $22 million was announced in 2011, with the university investing $33 million in CADET. Construction began in 2013 and finished this year.