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Careers in engineering design and automation

A career in engineering design and automation offers the opportunity to work in a field that is challenging, interesting, in-demand and well-paid.   

Considerable change is already underway, with many industries transitioning towards automation. In Western Australia, this especially applies to areas such as agriculture, resources and manufacturing.  In April 2018, the State Government partnered with Rio Tinto to begin development of Australia's first dedicated qualifications in automation. Read Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery's statement or watch a video about the announcement

These exciting changes are already effecting employment prospects - and the workforce of tomorrow. A career in design and automation engineering will see you work at the forefront of rapidly evolving technologies with opportunities in many industries. 

Automation is about creating and applying technologies that control or monitor production and delivery. It’s not about pressing buttons, but rather, designing and developing the buttons. It's about designing, programming, configuring and testing Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and industrial networks. Ultimately it’s about working with the “robots” – from concept to prototype. 

Automation is an emerging skill requiring mathematical problem-solving skills.

A solid understanding of maths and physics mixed with creative thinking will provide the foundations for creating clever design, while being detail focused and an interest in developing programs that control external devices and networks will help you to deliver real-world solutions in industry.

Employment outcomes are strong, with excellent reward and recognition for the appropriate candidates. 

Some jobs include:

  • Design Automation Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer Programmer
  • Process Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Engineering Technician
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Maintenance Technician 

Visit for more details. 

SM TAFE offers qualifications from entry level Certificate II, through to an Advanced Diploma. These are suited for all abilities and ages, from school leavers to age with industry experience. 

For school leavers and mature age entrants 

52845WA Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations

This course allows students to develop a good understanding of the emerging technologies in the resources sector. Learn how automation is innovating mobile and fixed plant operations, get an introduction to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and process control operations. These skills are in high demand in the sector, so graduates will be well placed to pursue a traineeship or apprenticeship following this course.

MEM30505 Certificate III in Engineering - Technical(opens in a new tab)

This is an entry-level qualification which exposes students to the design fundamentals required by Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing. Graduates of this course may then continue into Semester 2 of MEM50212 Diploma of Engineering – Technical(opens in a new tab)  and complete this Diploma in six months full time (rather than the usual 12 months).

52851WA Certificate IV in Autonomous Control and Remote Operations

UEE50511 Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering 

UEE62111 Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical 

MEM50212 Diploma of Engineering – Technical  

MEM60112 Advanced Diploma of Engineering 

When you receive an MEM60112 Advanced Diploma of Engineering from SM TAFE you’ll be able to work as an engineering associate around the world. Engineers Australia recognises the Advanced Diploma of Engineering and allows graduates to work as Engineering Associates in countries that are signatories to the Dublin Accord including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, South Korea, New Zealand and South Africa. 

For tradespeople seeking to upskill or organisations seeking enhancement of electrical capabilities

MEM40119 Certificate IV in Engineering (Instrumentation)

The skill sets listed below are part of the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical (UEE62111). They have been designed to assist industry build capability in emerging electrical technologies.

GAC21 Maintenance Planning, Scheduling and Coordination Skill Set(opens in a new tab)

GAA29 Applied Engineering Drawing and CAD Skill Set

GAA30 Applied Engineering Mathematics Skill Set

Munster campus is a world-class, state-of-the-art specialist training facility aligned with the needs of the mining, oil and gas, engineering and processing industries. The $12.4 million Munster Campus Stage 2 was officially opened in November 2017 with purpose built applied engineering facilities technology that gives students access to 3D printing, CNC-milling, laser, precision milling and vinyl cutting.  It also includes a purpose built mechatronics room that deals with circuit design and simulation software for multiple technologies such as:

  • Pneumatics
  • Hydraulics
  • PLC controls
  • HMI control panels
  • SCADA and DCS
  • Electro technical motor controls
  • Digital electronics

Begin your engineering or automation study pathway

For training advice and help with the next step in your career talk to a Jobs and Skills Centre.

Learn how you can:

  • leverage skills already developed in other study or work you've achieved
  • plan your engineering study pathway
  • apply for a TAFE engineering course
  • prepare and improve your resume, cover letter and interview techniques
  • approach an employer looking for an apprentice or trainee in engineering or automation