Opportunities for the development of professional skills for undergraduate civil and environmental engineers

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Employability and skills development are contemporary issues in higher education. For vocational-professional disciplines, such as engineering, the signature pedagogy directs teaching and learning towards acquiring scientific knowledge. Engineering employers have called for graduates to be more work-ready and trained in team-working, communication and other professional skills. These skills can be developed and assessed within curricular, co-curricular and extra-curricular settings. We consider how a sample of undergraduate civil engineers (N = 58) perceive the contribution of the above activities on the development of six professional skills (Problem-solving; Planning; Leadership; Team-working; Self-confidence; Resilience). Embedding these skills within curricular activities offers the greatest potential for helping all students improve their employment prospects. Finally, we make suggestions for improving the deployment of professional skills in our four undergraduate programmes, and higher education institutions in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-813
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
Early online date11 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2022


  • employability
  • professional skills
  • civil engineers
  • environmental engineers
  • curricular
  • co-curricular
  • extra-curricular provision


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