ENGINEERING AND DESIGN STUDENT PROJECTS - THE IMPACT OF TEAM BASED FINAL MAJOR PROJECTS ON GRADUATE EMPLOYABILITY
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Mclening, Christian; Burgess, Jonathan
Institution: 1: Arts University Bournemouth, United Kingdom; 2: Aston University, United Kingdom
Section: Project / Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Design and Engineering Education
As industry faces the challenge of a very competitive global world, the process of graduate recruitment has become increasingly competitive and complex. Engineering and design graduates need to develop a rounded profile combining; qualifications, experience of applied skills, technical knowledge and demonstrate softer interpersonal skills in preparation for employment. Traditionally, degree programmes commonly involve a significant Final Major Project (FMP) in the last year of study that applies much of the student’s skills, interests and knowledge learnt during the programme. This study seeks to establish the relative impact of individual and team based Final Major Projects for engineering and design students as they transition into their early career. Graduates were surveyed about the different skills, knowledge and experiences they gained during the Final Major Project and asked how they used those elements in their search for employment, from application through to selection and early career progression. Results identify skills and experiences that graduates drew upon during job interviews and through to their early career. The experience of a team project increased the positive perceived impact above that of an individual project when applying and securing employment, through to early stages of career progression in engineering and design roles. Compared to individual projects, team-based projects may offer improved employability for graduates.