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Making automotive engineering the career of choice for the very best students is a key priority for the federation and our industry

1 April 2014

FISITA (The International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies) was founded in Paris in 1948 to bring engineers from around the world together in the spirit of cooperation in order to share ideas and advance the development of the automobile.

Today FISITA provides a forum for dialogue between engineers, industry, government, academia, and environmental and standards organisations. It’s a vibrant and passionate network comprised of member societies and companies, and representing more than 200,000 engineers worldwide.

I’ll be assuming the role of FISITA president from June for a two-year term. It’s a great honour for me to be serving an organisation with such a rich history, and goals that align so well with our own vision at Ford: creating great products, building a strong business and making our contribution to a better world.

As we look to the future, trends such as population growth, increasing numbers of vehicles and urbanisation challenge the very notion of personal mobility, due to the issues of traffic congestion and environmental concerns. At Ford we have developed blueprints for mobility and sustainability, providing us with near-, mid- and long-term roadmaps to guide our technology strategy. I’ve provided this background to explain from a societal perspective how well aligned FISITA’s areas of focus are with the challenges we face with respect to safety, sustainability and mobility.

But there’s also another extremely important role that FISITA plays: helping to promote the automotive industry as a ‘career of choice’ for young engineers, by supporting educational programmes such as the online resource: Your Future in Automotive (www.yourfutureinautomotive.com) including travel bursaries, education information and career guidance and much more.

FISITA also provides through the biennial FISITA World Automotive Congress a forum where engineers and technology leaders can present technical papers, share ideas, network and continue their professional development.

STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a key priority for the FISITA leadership team in terms of time and budget. As I write this, I’m looking forward to the FISITA 2014 World Automotive Congress (www.fisita2014.com) which will be held in Maastricht in the Netherlands on 2-6 June.

The theme of this year’s programme is ‘Intelligent transport to solve our future mobility, safety and environmental challenges’. Under the leadership of our host, Royal Dutch Society of Engineers - KIVI, we will enjoy an outstanding programme, along with keynote speakers from inside and outside the auto industry. Details can be found at www.fisita2014.com.

During my term as President of FISITA I hope to further the goals of the organisation, working with the member societies and stakeholders. Matters of safety, sustainability and future mobility concern us all and there is much progress to be made through collaboration both within the industry and also with regulators and policy makers around the world.
But most of all, we need engineers to solve these challenges, so I will be very focused on the effectiveness of our STEM education programmes and promoting careers in automotive engineering through www.yourfutureinautomotive.com.

After 30-plus years in the business, I can attest to what a fun and exciting industry this is. It’s not easy, there are always new challenges to face in a fiercely competitive environment. But that’s what drives us forward. It’s more than just a love of cars; it’s the freedom and enjoyment that personal mobility provides for millions of people around the world. I look forward to seeing many of you in Maastricht in June.

This piece was featured in Automotive Engineer, April Edition, 2014.