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Human-centred engineers - a model for holistic interdisciplinary communication and professional practice
There are many challenges facing graduate engineers in a rapidly changing world. Engineers of the future will require abilities previously not considered 'core' to their professional practice. This research is aimed at the development of an enhanced understanding of the human component in system development and operation in both engineering and human factors graduates. Consideration of 'human factors' in engineering design will reduce the likelihood of human error, resulting in a safer, more efficient work environment for all stakeholders. The synergy of practice of the two disciplines of engineering and human factors, through an innovative teaching model, such as the one currently being developed, will ensure that graduates from both disciplines will become leaders in their professional practice. This model is being developed through an action research project. The findings indicate that the two disciplines must learn to work together during the entire design process. It is not enough to simply educate the engineers in the basics of human factors and the human factors practioners in the basics of the design process. True integration is needed to achieve the synergy.