An investigation of teaching engineering practice in Higher Education

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Current trends in engineering have been recording major changes in the mode of operation that require close alignment with academia to ensure the suitability and successful outcome of graduate student employment. In an everchanging environment traditional “hard” aspects of engineering knowledge are essential but do not, by themselves, ensure a graduate candidate’s suitability for a particular post. Increasingly, the industry is observing a “divergence” between academic teaching and industrial practice in terms of the necessary “soft” engineering skills. Results: This project identified the differences between the student and industry professional expectation of those elements of engineering practice that transcend the “hard” elements of the engineering curriculum by focusing on the opinion and desirability of a series of skills such as: Project Planning; Business Planning; Competitor Analysis; Market Analysis; Finance; Health and Safety; Stakeholder Analysis; Strategy; Innovation in Enterprise; Leadership; Risk Management and Ethics. To that effect a set questionnaire ranking those skills in terms of importance and difficulty has been disseminated to student and industry professionals along with two open ended questions that asked participants to identify graduate engineers’ needs and curriculum enhancements. Conclusions: This paper identified and quantified the difference of opinion between students and industry professionals and illustrated the differences in what each perceive as important and difficult leading to a better understanding of the changes in terms of curriculum delivery and expectation management to avoid integration issues of graduate engineers in the industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240- 254
JournalInternational Journal on Engineering, Science and Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sept 2023


  • engineering practice
  • content
  • industry
  • soft skills
  • Higher Education

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