BRISBANE, Australian, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Australia needs more engineers if it wants to be an economic force, according to NASA astronaut Andy Thomas.
Dr Thomas, the first Australian born astronaut to enter space, was in Brisbane on Tuesday promoting maths and science studies to students during National Engineering Week.
He said Australia was in need of thousands of engineers.
"There is a great shortage of engineers in Australia. Any country that's going to be an economic strength in the 21st century need engineers because it is a technological world.
"Engineers are the ones who innovate. They invent new products and they create new companies and through those new products and inventions new employment opportunities are made," Thomas said.
Queensland University of Technology Engineering Dean, Professor Martin Betts, said employers were crying out for engineers.
"Australia has a shortfall of about 20,000 engineers, which will be exacerbated by the retirement of about 15 percent of the current workforce in the next five to 10 years," Betts said.