The nuanced nature of engineering as a profession is highlighted in a recent statement by the EPC (2023) in response to the UCAS publication ‘The Future of Undergraduate Admissions’ (2023). Focusing on the value of Personal Statements within the University Selection System, the EPC asks UCAS to provide more practical information to prospective students about the nature of engineering and what prerequisite qualifications are needed to study engineering. Such clarity is particularly important when considering Engineering Degree Apprentices. Starting with the research question “How can the gap between school and university be bridged in engineering education?” the paper critically discusses a project currently being undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues working together to enhance the student experience. Located in one the UK’s largest Engineering Education Departments, the “Step Up” Project analyses the barriers and drivers to engineering education faced by first-year Degree Apprenticeship students from three distinctive engineering and computing science disciplines. This paper represents a small part of a much larger project where the student experience is being prioritised and high-quality learning and teaching is expected. The paper is built upon the emergent findings of a three focus groups with engineering degree apprentices. Whilst the findings are relevant to all years of study, the recommendations and conclusion highlight the importance of ‘getting the first year right’ and empowering students to ‘step up to success’ in university and in work. This evidences a demand for clearer explanations of the knowledge and skills expected of incoming students.
Knowles, N., Andrews, J., Cooke, G., Schrock, L., Clark, R., & Knowles, G. (2023). The ‘Engineering First Year’: "Step Up" To Success. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/C6FN-1R18
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