Employability skills in engineering: towards a broader redefinition of professional identities

Vito Veneziano, Imran Mahmud

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

This paper undertakes a comprehensive examination of the multifaceted challenges and opportunities intrinsic to the integration of employability skills, particularly those of a non-technical nature, into the knowledge framework of engineering disciplines. Leveraging insights gleaned from Winberg et al.’s (2020) systematic literature review, the intricate process of transferring predominantly non-technical proficiencies into the specialized domain of engineering knowledge is not only acknowledged but also thoroughly discussed and critically assessed. Although numerous academic institutions across the globe have already adopted integrated and cohesive strategies to align technical and employability skills within their engineering degree programs, this paper posits that a more expansive and concerted effort is imperative. The argument presented herein contends that for employability skills to truly ascend to the status of a foundational element in a renewed and enriched professional identity for engineers, a broader societal commitment is requisite. While existing initiatives are commendable, this paper advocates for a scale-up of efforts, positing that such endeavours will accrue substantial benefits for learners, employers, and the broader societal fabric. Employing a Social Learning Theory approach and delving into the socio-technical intricacies of the engineering profession, the discourse underscores the necessity of expanding the current cadre of main stakeholders. In addition to higher education institutions, employers, professional bodies, learners, and practitioners in training, the paper contends that media, schools from early educational stages, and other relevant components of society should assume a more proactive and co-responsible role in reshaping societal perceptions of engineers' professional identities. This expansion of stakeholder involvement is posited as a vital step towards fostering a comprehensive paradigm shift in how engineers are perceived within society.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

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