Engineering Students for the 21st century - Analysis of Pathways of Engagement

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Work in the 21st century is vastly different from what it was as recently as 15 years ago, work is technological and multicultural, teams dominate the workplace and computers are ubiquitous (Landy & Conte, 2004). Internationally, skills shortages are being reported across both first world and developing economies (Woodridge, 2006). To combat this, a wide range of programs have been set up to cater for the needs of students interested in a career in design and engineering. These range from programs for individual students to international competitions with multimillion dollar budgets. The programs involve four distinct groups; schools, universities, professional bodies and industry. Due to the range of expectations among stakeholders, providing a measure of success is difficult. A model entitled ‘Pathways of engagement’ has been developed which proposes six distinct pathways of engagement between these groups. From this model, several hypotheses have been proposed from which analysis of the interaction of these groups can be undertaken and the effect of these interactions on the success of the programs noted. Comparison of this model with the work undertaken by the Great Engineering Challenge as well as a selection of existing and past programs is made.
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Pratley, Andrew
Whitty, Mark
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UNSW Faculty
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