Industrial work placement in higher education: a study of civil engineering student engagement

Stuart Tennant, Mike Murray, Bob Gilmour, Linda Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
389 Downloads (Pure)


For civil engineering undergraduates, short-term industrial work placement provides an invaluable learning experience. Notwithstanding the near-universal endorsement of short-term placement programmes, the resulting experience is rarely articulated through the student voice. This article provides an analysis of 174 questionnaires returned by placement undergraduates studying civil engineering at four higher education institutions in the West of Scotland. The commentary captures industrial placement statistics, employability skill sets and a preliminary semantic interpretation of participants’ testimonies. While the student journey to becoming a professional civil engineer is undoubtedly enhanced by short-term industrial placement, the findings disclose opportunities for university and industry to challenge and affect pedagogical discourse in relation to personal and professional development. The discussion is likely to resonate beyond civil engineering and may serve as a timely reminder of the necessity of periodically revisiting and reinvigorating academia– industry curriculum partnerships.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-118
Number of pages11
JournalIndustry and Higher Education
Issue number2
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • civil engineering
  • industrial placement
  • engineering education


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