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Short Courses

Practical and motivating short courses for technical professionals of all levels to build your socio-technical toolkit.
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EWB Australia Short Courses are a highly effective way to connect back to your purpose as a technical professional contributing to a better world.

EWB’s half-day workshops will build your sustainability knowledge and skill sets in a practical way, while opening up pathways for future learning and deeper skills development. The interactive and facilitated sessions provide space for you to connect with other participants and gain inspiration from values-aligned peers.

Delivered by expert facilitators and backed by EWB’s two decades of deep stakeholder engagement, we utilise scenarios and real-world case studies to ground your learning. You’ll also be guided through a reflection process to tie concepts and skills back to your current professional practice – ensuring workshop experiences are relevant for any technical professional who seeks to grow their socio-technical toolkit.

Why short courses?

You asked for it! EWB has been delivering learning programs for student and professional audiences for nearly two decades. We know that our message, the quality of the content, our connection to real-world community outcomes, and our national network of highly capable human-centred engineers builds confidence, commitment, and vision in the participants who have joined us over time. This offering is a response to requests for more discrete, short-form learning opportunities and we can’t wait to build these out further over time alongside our EWB community network. 

Short Courses

Workshops are currently available for discrete, one-off delivery or as a series of 4:

A) Assets-based approaches to community engagement

B) Tools for participatory project management

C) Designing alongside community: your adaptable toolkit

D) Measuring ‘success’ in sustainable development

Each workshop is designed to be delivered over 2-3 hours to either a teaching team or student group, and can be in-person or virtual. Sessions can be adapted to fit within a specific unit (i.e. delivered as a guest lecture) where relevant. Session topics are relevant for all technical professionals aiming to grow their socio-technical toolkit, not simply those working in an international development or humanitarian context.


Session A: an assets-based approach to stakeholder engagement

There is an increasing focus on the ‘human-side’ of technical professions, recognising that to deliver successful projects we must be authentically connecting with and listening to the communities impacted by our work.

This session asks participants to embark on the early stages of a design task, utilising a real-world project scenario to practice skills and mindsets critical to working effectively and respectfully alongside communities.

While immersed in their project context, participants will explore:

  • Asking good questions: how do we work with community to define challenges and opportunities?
  • Listening to clients and community stakeholders: what does listening mean and involve when working in cross-cultural and community contexts?
  • Assumptions and biases that impact the successful delivery of technical projects with clients and communities.
  • How these skills and mindsets relate to project design considerations

This session will spark curiosity about how to better engage with community stakeholders from the outset of a project while providing tools and motivation for further skill development.

Session Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • increase confidence, efficacy and sensitivity working in cross-cultural environments
  • deepen their understanding of the value of community engagement in delivering sustainable, effective design outcomes.
Session B: tools for participatory project management

You may have heard of ‘asset-based approaches’ or taking ‘a strengths-based approach’ in your work, but what does this actually mean? And what can it look like for technical professionals or teams?

In this workshop participants explore key concepts behind an approach that asks ‘what opportunities exist here?’ and ‘what foundations exist for building a better future?‘ more than ‘what’s wrong here and how does it need to be fixed‘. Adopting an assets-based approach does not mean ignoring problems, instead it can generate real momentum in projects and teams through focusing on the existing strengths, resources and capabilities available to draw on.

Guided by a practical case study of ‘project initiation’ and 360 immersive content, participants will practice the mindsets and a variety of asset mapping tools available to lead projects and teams toward sustainable and community-owned outcomes.

Session Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • understand how asset-based approaches differ from deficit-based approaches
  • be able to apply a selection of asset-based tools relevant to the initiation and information-gathering stages of a technical project.
Session C: Designing alongside community – your adaptable toolkit

Drawing on EWB’s decades of experience working alongside communities and proven Technology Development Approach, this session introduces participants to a variety of mindsets and tools useful for engaging community members or partner organisations directly in a design process.

Parallel case studies will explore ‘designing alongside community’ in an international context and on-Country with First Nations communities. Participants will be introduced to different levels of participation (i.e. ‘design with’ vs. ‘design by’) and practice community engagement tools relevant to each.

Session Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • understand the ‘ladder of participation’ and relation to a design approach
  • be able to identify the benefits and drawbacks of different design approaches based on contextual factors
  • be able to apply a selection of community engagement tools relevant to each design approach


Session D: Measuring 'Success' in sustainable development

In this workshop we turn the lens back on ourselves as practitioners and organisations looking to ‘do good’ in the world. What do we mean by ‘impact’ and how do we measure it? Who is defining what ‘success’ looks like in our work and would others agree?

This workshop will introduce and ask participants to critically reflect on

  • definitions of ‘development’
  • frameworks for sustainable development
  • community-informed project indicators
  • consideration of risks and unintended consequences

Guided by expert EWB facilitators, this session is a fantastic opportunity to take a deeper look at the role and potential of the technical sector in creating a more equitable and sustainable world.

Session Learning Outcomes

Participants will:

  • deepen their understanding of the complexities of defining ‘development’
  • increase their awareness of different methods for measuring ‘development’
  • be able to identify approaches that ‘do no harm’ and address the risk of unintended consequences

Interested in taking part in a short course? Complete the Expression of Interest form below. 

“The EWB short course facilitators utilised personal experiences and stories, a community walkthrough with 360 degree footage and interactive games to ensure all participants were immersed in the benefits of working alongside clients and communities respectfully.

The 130 young professional attendees from across the Asia-Pacific gained skill sets in asking good questions, listening to stakeholders and unpacking assumptions and biases that were extremely transferable to all engineering contexts.”

Meg Cummins

Water Engineer, Aurecon

Contact Us

Want to bring an EWB short course to your organisation?

Please complete the form linked below and one of our team members will be in touch with you shortly.