Research Papers

Document Type

Conference Paper


The ability of Engineering graduates to function as successful professionals depends not only on technical disciplinary knowledge but also on a wide range of professional competencies. Students' reactions to the teaching and assessment of these competencies are often negative. An ongoing study by the authors has been exploring the nature of these reactions and in particular, the various factors that contribute to students’ views on the teaching of professional competencies. A preliminary factor analysis showed that students’ level of professional experience was a key factor in shaping variations in their views. In this paper, we explore this issue in more depth. For example, when asked on the pair of survey questions “do you agree or disagree that each competency type [professional / technical] should be a core component of your Engineering degree program”, the impact of increasing professional experience on the average response was only marginally greater for professional competencies than for technical competencies. In contrast to this, when asked the pair of questions “for each competency type [professional / technical] indicate whether it is easier to learn it at University or at work”, the analysis of the responses shows that as the level of experience increases, there is a small shift for technical competencies towards being taught at University, whereas for professional competencies, there is a significantly greater shift towards being taught in work environments. We explore these, and other related findings, and consider their implications for the design and delivery of engineering degree programs.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.