The influence of geography on engineering employability and implications for undergraduate curriculum design

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Curriculum Transformation Vol. 40

June, 2017, 455 pages
Published by
Ruth Walker & Simon Bedford
ISBN
978-0-9945546-6-6
Abstract 

A common outcome of recent investigations internationally into graduate employability has been a list of desired (particularly by business) generic skills and attitudes that university graduates should have when they complete their undergraduate studies in order to maximise their employment opportunities.  However, there is evidence that a ‘degree plus a list of key skills’ model does not fully explain the observed variability in graduate employability, and that other factors external to a student’s experience of university study contribute to graduate employment status.  For engineering graduates, employment outcomes, as measured by the national Graduate Destination Survey, vary significantly depending on the institution that a student studied at.  Simple employability models that focus on employment status immediately post-graduation and lists of ‘employability skills’ fail to fully characterise graduate employability, or account for the variability of graduate outcomes between institutions, even in the time when there is essentially a universal focus on graduate employability skills in higher education curricula.  Internationally, it has been identified that geography plays a role in engineering employment opportunities.  The research presented here investigates the impact of geography on professional and graduate engineering employment opportunities in Australia, and identifies implications for undergraduate engineering curricula.  While the specific context and findings here relate to engineering, the analysis methods employed are likely to provide useful insights in many disciplines.

Keywords: engineering education, curriculum design, occupational outcomes

The influence of geography on engineering employability and implications for undergraduate curriculum design

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Palmer, S.