National Committee for Engineering Associates and Technologists

Advocacy, networking and career development for Engineering Associates and Technologists.

About the Engineering Associates Special Interest Group

After careful consideration and discussion between both groups, the National Committee of Engineering Associates Australia (NCEAA) and the National Committee of Engineering Technologists Australia in 2016 jointly agreed to merge to ensure an integrated approach to representing the unique interests of their membership cohort.

About the Engineering Associates Special Interest Group

In 1998 the Australian Institute of Engineering Associates (AIEA) formally amalgamated with the Institution of Engineers Australia.

A membership with Engineering Associates comprises people who have an Australian two year advanced diploma of engineering, following 12 years of schooling or the equivalent.

Within the workplace, the terms Technical Officer, Technical Manager, Plant Supervisor, Engineering Manager, Project Manager and Resources Manager are a small sample of titles used.

Every Engineering Associate is a member of the College of their discipline. Engineering Associates are also represented within Engineers Australia by a national committee and through representation on College Boards, Congress and various other committees.

The National Committee of Engineering Associates Australia (NCEAA) is the lead Associates group within Engineers Australia and is committed to:

  • Gaining wider recognition of Engineering Associates, in the engineering industry and the wider community, by developing policies and practices that promote the term ‘Engineering Associates' both internally and externally to Engineers Australia.
  • Creating and improving opportunities for Engineering Associates to enhance their skills and careers.
  • Supporting the representation of Engineering Associates on the Engineers Australia National Congress , Divisional Committees, College Boards and Branches, and other Societies of Engineers Australia.
  • Encouraging active participation and social interaction by all Engineering Associates in organised activities including committees, branches, judging panels, awards selection committees, competitions and functions.
  • Presenting and championing Associate-related issues to Engineers Australia's governing Congress and Council through the Board of Engineering Practice and various committees.

The Role of Engineering Associates

Engineering Associates may be experts in installing, testing and monitoring equipment and systems, in the operation and maintenance of advanced plants, and in managing or supervising tradespeople in these activities. They may also be the expert in selecting equipment and components to meet given specifications, and in assembling these to form systems customised to particular projects.

Engineering Associates are often required to be closely familiar with industry standards and codes of practice, and to become the expert in their interpretation and application to a wide variety of situations.

Many Engineering Associates develop extensive experience of practical installations and will be more knowledgeable than a professional engineer or technologist on detailed aspects that can contribute to safety, cost or effectiveness in operation.

In other instances, associates may develop high levels of expertise in aspects of design and development processes. These might include, for example, the use of advanced software to perform detailed design of structures, mechanical components and systems, manufacturing or a process plant, electrical and electronic equipment and information and communications systems.

Other examples might be the construction of experimental or prototype equipment. Again, experienced operators in these areas often develop detailed practical knowledge that complements the broader or more theoretical knowledge of others.

Engineering Associates need a good grounding in engineering science and the principles underlying their field of expertise, to ensure that their knowledge and skills are portable across different applications and situations.

Equipment specific or context-specific training in a particular job are not sufficient to guarantee generic competency. Given a good knowledge base, however, associates may build further on this through high levels of training in particular contexts and in relation to particular equipment.

Engineering associates may lead or manage teams appropriate to these activities. Some may establish their own companies or may move into senior management roles in engineering including managing of professional engineers.

Qualifications and competencies

Engineering associate qualifications often have titles that embrace the broad field of engineering such as Civil, Electrical, Electronics - IT, Environmental, Structural, Biomedical, Chemical or Mechanical Engineering.

Engineering associates should have a capability that goes beyond a particular industry training regime, and a generalised knowledge base that allows them to locate their knowledge in the widest possible context and take professional responsibility for their work as fully-qualified members of the engineering team.

Entry level or Stage 1 competency, corresponds to completion of a two year Advanced Diploma of Engineering (AQF Level 6) incorporating a program of subjects or units approved by Engineers Australia.

In the past, the Advance Diploma was referred to as the Associate Diploma of Engineering, the Diploma or Associate Diploma, Advance Certificate or Certificate of Technology. These have been awarded by the various State Departments of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) in Australia since the early 1970's.

TAFE programs leading to these awards permit very wide choices of subject units. Engineers Australia considers most available combinations of units as constituting satisfactory engineering qualifications. However, it is possible that there are combinations of units considered to be too diffuse or as not providing sufficient fundamental knowledge of engineering principles.

Since individual programs can vary so greatly, holders of these qualifications are asked to provide listings of the units comprising their program, for individual approval. Occasionally candidates may be asked to undertake further units before being regarded as qualified for admission as an Engineering Associate within Engineers Australia.

Some engineering associates may have followed other pathways, such as successive phases of in-service training early in their career, with later consolidation and broadening of their knowledge to strengthen its theoretical base.

Equivalent titles

Some countries use different terminologies. For example, engineering associates in several countries are called Engineering Technicians and in New Zealand are called Associate Engineers.

In the past, Engineers Australia admitted engineering associates to membership under the title Engineering Officer. We now have membership options for Engineering Associate (AMIEAust). A newly qualified engineering associate would be expected to work initially or under the supervision or guidance of more experienced associates or engineers.

Engineering Associates are encouraged to undertake Professional Development Programs as part of their development of practical competencies that will qualify them for Stage two assessment and the status of Chartered Engineering Associate.

Related groups

  • ITEE College
  • Structural College
  • Civil College
  • Electrical College
  • Environmental College
  • Biomedical College
  • Women in Engineering
  • Young Engineers Australia
  • National Engineering Registration Board

Contact Us

For any enquiries regarding the National Committee of Engineering Associates please contact:

Learned Society Advisor


Engineers Australia
Engineering House
11 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

To contact Member Services please call 1300 653 113.

Engineering Technologists

About the Engineering Technologists special interest group

The National Committee of Engineering Technologists Australia (NCETA) is committed to:

  • gaining wider recognition for technologists within the engineering industry and general community
  • creating opportunities for skill and career enhancement
  • representing technologists on Engineers Australia's national and divisional boards and committees
  • reporting to Engineers Australia's governing Congress through the Board of Engineering Practice
  • organising technologist groups within each of Engineers Australia's divisions.

As outlined on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website, an Engineering Technologist ‘analyses and modifies new and existing engineering technologies and applies them in the testing and implementation of engineering projects'.

Engineering technologists combine high-level theoretical skills with a practical ability to manage engineering projects. They have completed three years (or equivalent) recognised engineering tertiary study.

For more information on skill level, assessment authority, licensing and registration requirements and professional associations, please refer to the ANZSCO - Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations, 2013, Version 1.2.

Engineering Technologists make an important contribution to the engineering profession. They:

  • use their strong knowledge base to carry out specific and complex engineering tasks
  • focus on interactions within engineering systems
  • identify and solve complex, specialised engineering problems by applying innovative practices and procedures.

Technologists profiles

Who are Engineering Technologists?

Most people know Engineering Technologists as those professionals who have completed a three year Engineering qualification, but that's about it. What do Engineering Technologists do? How do they fit in with the rest of the Engineering Profession? Who are they?

Previous winners of Engineers Australia's prestigious Engineering Technologist of the Year Award share their stories below:

Bill Pickering TFIEAust CEngT

Bill's career commenced as an apprentice electrical fitter and has developed into a long and distinguished one. He has a Bachelor Technology Engineering with Distinction, became a Chartered Engineering Technologist in 1998 and is also a Fellow of the Institution.

Bill was instrumental in the formation of the National Committee for Engineering Technologists Australia, on which he served for many years. He has served as a Justice of the Peace for over 30 years as well as serving on many hospital and community based Boards.

He was previously an elected member of the Hinchinbrook Shire Council, and continues to commit his time to many community based events and activities. He was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 for his contribution over 11 years as the Manager of the Ingham Qld Open Learning Centre.

Bill was awarded the Engineering Technologist of the Year Award in 2008.

Most interesting project he has worked on

In April 2005, the Herbert River Improvement Trust, of which I am chairperson, was recipient of two sets of prefabricated vertical lift floodgates. These were provided under the Sugar Industry Infrastructure Package, two thirds of the purchase cost funded by governments and the remainder by the Trust.

These automatic gates would replace existing flap type gates installed near the mouths of two creeks, which prevented inundation of farmland by floodwaters coming from the Herbert River, into which they flow.

Whilst the Trust had participated in discussions relating to the design and specification of the new gates, funding was only confirmed about six weeks before the cut-off date for the project. So the decision to accept or reject what was offered had to be made without the opportunity to further explore design considerations.

As a person with some knowledge of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and electronic control systems, I teamed up with the Trust engineer and electrical contractor responsible for the electrical work associated with the installation of the new gates.

Our aim was to determine what problems might exist and seek solutions to any problems found. As chairperson of the Trust, my work was unpaid. The Trust engineer undertook the design work associated with interfacing the new gates to the existing conduits, manufacture of work platforms and foundations required for the control cubicles for each site.

He also controlled removal of old gates and fitting of new gate assemblies. The commissioning was to be in two stages: first install gates and control cubicles and achieve satisfactory manual operation, then implement full automatic control of the gates.

Some of the issues identified and addressed

Changing a single-phase to a three-phase hydraulic pump motor to be used at one site resulted in a saving of more than $30,000, through avoiding the need to replace some spans of aerial supply mains and a distribution transformer.

To test the PLC program, I constructed a dual 4-20mA simulator to synthesise water level data input under flood conditions. Tests revealed modifications were needed to provide a more sophisticated response to flood conditions.

The target was that the gates would close when the water level downstream became higher than the upstream level, preventing water from running up the creeks. Conversely we wanted the gates to open when the upstream water level was higher than downstream level, allowing the water to run out of the creeks. Typical flood conditions might require the gates to close and open several times within a couple of hours.

The original programmer was contracted to rewrite the program and software required to implement program changes to the PLC. A suitable laptop PC that would interface with the PLC was also identified and purchased. When the revised program was available it was downloaded to the PLC.

After physical installation of the gates and attempting manual operation it was determined that incorrect hydraulic control valves had been fitted to both sets of gates, preventing the gates from opening. These were replaced with the correct valves.

Further problems existed in that the 240Volt mains supply was connected to the proximity switches, mounted on the gate structures. This was undesirable from a safety point of view and circuit modifications were done to permit a 24Volt DC supply to proximity switches.

Circuit alterations were designed and implemented to prevent drop-back when the gates were opened manually.

Proximity switches, determining the fully open and fully closed position of each gate, exhibited intermittent loss of sensitivity after a month or two of operation. This fault took significant time to identify and confirm.

It was found that the ultrasonic level detectors supplied were unsuitable. Replacements were identified and purchased.

Repeated failure of one type of hydraulic solenoid coil was identified as being due to moisture entry into the coil encapsulation. This was ascertained by careful dissection of three failed coils, with all displaying similar evidence of electrical breakdown.

Hand pumps provided at each site to enable the gates to be opened or closed in the event of prolonged mains failure did not work because mains power was required to operate valves connecting the pump into the hydraulic circuit.

A successful outcome

The Trust engaged an Engineering Consultancy firm to carry out the commissioning of automatic operation of the gates and confirm and rectify remaining problems, including identifying and fitting suitable replacements for defective components and redesigning the manually operated pump arrangement.

It was very satisfying to be able to work with the consultants when they took over and automatic operation was achieved in 2009.

What it means to Bill to be an Engineering Technologist:

Being an Engineering Technologist clearly defines my role in the engineering team, a person competent to undertake complex engineering tasks, including researching and finding solutions to problems within my field of electrical and electronic engineering.

Because of my practical knowledge, it often falls within my competence to also implement the solutions I have found.

Being an engineering technologist also identifies me as being a member of the team and this is of particular value to me personally as I have always viewed engineering undertakings as being most effectively carried out by a team approach.

Having started my working life as an apprentice, then transferred to undertake five years training as a technician, followed by further study and examinations for Senior Technician classification in both telephony and radio/broadcasting disciplines, the opportunity to complete an Associate Diploma and then a Bachelor of Engineering Technology, by distance education, was one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime devoted to electrical and electronic work.

Patrick Campbell

Zimbabwean-born, Patrick immigrated to Australia in 2001 to start a new life for his family. He was employed by Bassett Consulting Engineers from 2001 until 2008. During this period he was promoted to Technical Director level.

With business partner Nathan Brown, Patrick established BCA Engineers in September 2008. They have since grown the engineering consultancy firm to 26 staff members, boasting an annual turnover in excess of $2 million.

The rapid growth of the business was strategic and undertaken in accordance with the original business plan. The growth was achieved through the Global Financial Crisis. BCA Engineers has since secured an engineering role in $300m worth of construction projects in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

Patrick is recognised as a leader in the building industry's Healthcare, Retail and Commercial arenas. He has demonstrated competence as an Electrical Engineer, Design Manager and team leader.

Interesting projects that Patrick has been involved in

2010 Amcor G3 Expansion - Leighton Contractors

Construction Value - $150m

BCA Engineers were engaged by the appointed Contractor, Leighton Contractors, as the project Services Designers of the Amcor G3 expansion. The industrial project included a third furnace and a new glass bottle manufacturing line for Amcor Glass Australia's Gawler plant. At completion of the project, the plant had the capacity to produce 600 million wine bottles a year. Amcor Glass has reportedly secured the vast majority of South Australia's recycling glass and uses 40% recycled glass, or cullet, as raw material in the final glass-bottle manufacturing process, in order to maintain their environmental responsibilities. My role on this project was the design manager and the electrical engineer.

2010 Tennant Creek Hospital - Northern Territory Government

Construction Value - Various

BCA Engineers has been involved in several ongoing projects within the Alice Springs Hospital & Tennant Creek Hospital. Projects include the Operating Theater upgrade, site fire water infrastructure upgrade, Day Procedures Unit Ward Upgrade, and CMW Ward.

Most recently the BCA team was involved with the Tennant Creek Renal Dialysis unit to extend the existing Renal Clinic. I was working with the NT Renal services to find a more pragmatic approach to home dialysis in the remote part of the territory. My role on this project was the design manager and the electrical engineer.

What it means to Patrick to be an Engineering Technologist

"Engineers make it so" is a very powerful statement but it is what I believe makes engineering one of the best professions. My particular field is the construction industry where every project is a prototype and every client has different needs and aspirations. This really gives me the ability to embrace the latest technology.

Thomas Maher TFIEAust

Tom Maher began his engineering career as a technical assistant with the N.T. Department of Transport and Works in Katherine in 1983, where he was employed to carry out compliance testing on civil engineering projects. After a couple of years he moved into the area of contract watching and then onto the role of a civil construction contract supervisor in the Katherine Region.

In 1996 Tom moved into the local government area with a two year stint on Christmas Island as Manager of Technical Services where he was responsible for the maintenance and operation of the Islands roads; parks and gardens; and water and sewerage systems.

Then Tom spent around six years as a technical officer with Isis Shire Council in Childers, Queensland. During this time, he provided technical support on a number of civil projects. This included acting as project manager and quality assurance officer on major civil contracts that the Council undertook for the Queensland Department of Main Roads.

Tom returned to the Northern Territory in 2004. After a brief period with his old employer, the now N.T. Department of Construction & Infrastructure, he moved back into local government environment as Darwin City Council's Manager of Assets.

This role was to ensure that the Council has a good understanding of what assets they own; what condition they are in; the level of service they are expected to deliver to the community and when they are likely to require replacement, refurbishment or upgrades.

The Councils infrastructure assets which include buildings, roads, paths; parks; reserves; stormwater systems; recreation facilities such as swimming pools and sporting grounds have a replacement value of around $692m.

Tom started his engineering career with no formal qualifications. In 1990 he completed an Advanced Certificate in Civil Construction Supervision. Then he embarked on a lifelong learning program which has included the completion of a range of tertiary programs to formally address areas that would be beneficial to his professional development.

This includes completing a Certificate in Supervisory Studies in 1994; an Associate Degree in Civil Engineering in 2003; a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) in 2005 and a Graduate Certificate in Project Management in 2006.

All of these programs have been completed through external study modes which have had to be balanced with full time work; family and other commitments.

Highlights from Tom's Career to date

Overseeing the construction of the Donkey Camp Weir on the Katherine River; construction of subdivisions and maintenance and renewal of roads and airstrips in a number of Aboriginal Communities throughout the region; and involvement in the opening up of tourist roads into the Gregory; Elsey; Keep River and Flora River National Parks.

What it means to Tom to be an Engineering Technologist

Tom has proven that with commitment and lifelong learning that he is an outstanding member of the Engineering Profession, recognised with receiving the 2009 Engineering Technologist of the Year Award.

Tom has worked hard to improve his engineering knowledge since leaving school early and shown commitment by studying by torchlight whilst out on camp in southern Arnhem Land after a hard day of engineering surveying work!

Related Groups

  • Civil College
  • Electrical College
  • Mechanical College
  • Environmental College
  • ITEE College
  • Biomedical College
  • Women In Engineering
  • National Engineering Registration Board
  • Queensland Division - Engineering Technologists
  • Western Australian Division - Engineering Technologists

Contact Us

For any enquiries regarding the National Committee of Engineering Technologists please contact:

Learned Society Advisor


Engineers Australi
Engineering House
11 National Circuit
Barton ACT 2600

To contact Member Services please call 1300 653 113


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