We are looking for a hands-on PhD candidate in the field of engineering education as part of a Knowledge Alliance on the Professional Roles and Employability of Future Engineers in the Erasmus+ programme. You will design, implement and evaluate curriculum elements for engineering programmes on both the BSc and MSc levels to prepare students for their future careers. The premise of the project is that every engineering graduate has a natural preference for certain professional engineering roles. Discovering one’s preferred roles and enhancing the required skill portfolio for these roles will enhance employability.
The PREFER project (Professional Roles and Employability of Future EngineeRs) aims to reduce the skills mismatch in the field of engineering: new engineering graduates frequently display a lack of transversal skills required by the labour market. Enterprises observe a lack of self-awareness among new engineering graduates of who they are as an engineer and what their strengths are. Despite appropriate levels of technical skills, enterprises recruiting engineers often demand a more elaborated transversal skill set.
The objectives of the PREFER project are threefold. First, we aim to construct a Professional Roles Framework wherein the different roles engineers can take on in the beginning of their career are described, independent of the engineering disciplines (e.g., electronics, chemistry, ..). Each role will be characterized with an associated set of transversal skills. Thereafter, a Test System will be developed in order to (1) increase engineering students’ awareness of the multitude of professional roles in engineering and (2) to make them reflect on their own engineering identity and their interests, strengths and weaknesses. Third, we will explore how to implement these innovative tools into the engineering curriculum by running a number of pilots in the participating universities. This will result in a modern learning environment that ensures that people can develop their own talent in full on the basis of informed study and career choices.
In order to reach the PREFER objectives, a well-balanced consortium is constructed. Three leading engineering education institutions (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Delft University of Technology and Dublin Institute of Technology) and three multinationals with large experience in recruiting different profiles of engineers (Engie, Siemens and ESB), are involved. In order to develop reliable and valid test material, an experienced test development partner (BDO) is a member of the team. And finally, we will guarantee a large European network thanks to three Societies of Engineers (ie-net, KIVI and Engineers Ireland), one national sector federation (AGORIA) and two European societies (SEFI and FEANI). They play an essential role in connecting higher education institutions with a large number of companies and SME’s hiring engineers.