This paper reports on a personal preference test which aligns students to a range of professional roles based on their attitudes towards performing particular tasks. The 10-item test was administered to 109 first-year engineering students at TU Dublin, Ireland and 159 third-year engineering students at KU Leuven, Belgium in September of the 2018/19 academic year. The test had two purposes: • to align students to three professional engineering roles based on their preference for performing certain tasks; • to allow students to reflect on an initially tacit model of professional roles. In this paper only the first purpose is considered, followed by an evaluation of the reliability of the test. Preliminary results indicate that the majority of students at TU Dublin and at KU Leuven wish to work in roles which involve the development of radically new products and services, while a much smaller proportion of students wish to work with product and process optimisation. The data also indicates that, in general, students have less favourable attitudes towards working in client-centred roles. These findings present a unique challenge for engineering educators and employers alike in Ireland and Belgium, as industries in these nations shift towards services and away from manufacture. So too do the skills requirements to work effectively in the modern engineering sector.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.