Project-based learning as a contributing factor to graduates' work readiness


This paper explores what work readiness means for two cohorts of graduate engineers, one from a traditional curriculum, the second from a largely project-based curriculum. Professional bodies and employers have defined a set of attributes for engineering graduates so that graduates will be 'work ready'. Problem-based learning (PBL) is claimed to be a suitable approach to develop such skills. The graduates were interviewed some months after starting work, along with their managers. All the graduates recognised the benefits of taking PBL subjects as well as vacation work, with success in communication attributed more to PBL. Both cohorts had similar learning outcomes, high skill levels in project management, problem solving, communication skills, research and sustainability. A skills gap in ethics was identified for both cohorts of graduates and their managers. Further work is planned to link skill development with undergraduate learning experience.


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