Publication Details

Childs, P. W. & Gibson, P. (2010). Graduating Professional Engineers and Management Skills - are they adequate for the workplace?. 3rd International Symposium for Engineering Education (pp. 1-9). Ireland: ISEE.

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International Symposium for Engineering Education


This paper considers the notion that for the majority of engineers, the development of managerial skills will be essential and cannot be 'picked up on the job'. Engineers increasingly need to understand the interactions between design, quality, sustainability product planning, organisation, management of people, team work and finance. This paper considers the need to develop managerial skills and will discuss the development of a survey to be carried out in an Australian context. The survey will cover a range of firms and governmental bodies that employ graduate engineers. The questions will cover a wide range of non-engineering skills that could be expected of engineers within the first five years of the commencement of their careers. The two disciplines, Engineering and Management have enjoyed a rather difficult relationship for some time. Each needs the other because complex engineering tasks cannot be carried out in an increasingly challenging business environment without an integrated management focus. Engineers are finding they need to take on more complex tasks which include very significant managerial issues. Most engineering faculties have attempted to teach managerial skills in their engineering curricula. However, management education has often been viewed as secondary to technical skills and hence does not encompass the integrated range of skills needed. This has not motivated students to become interested in and committed to the management aspects of their future profession with the result that management education for engineers remains an enigma. This paper considers some of the contemporary literature on teaching management to engineers. Some ideas are discussed outlining possible research which will be carried out and reported by the authors, aimed at documenting current shortcomings with a view to developing a more effective future strategy for engineering management education.

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