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    A couple of weeks ago there was this post on The Engineer:

    https://www.theengineer.co.uk/the-se...em-these-days/

    This sentiment isn't uncommon in industry.

    I'm interesting in hearing the opinions of students and recent graduates. Does anyone think that degrees should include more practical elements? Or should the onus for this fall on the student, via their own projects or things like Formula Student? Does industry need to do more to ensure that engineering graduates are equipped with the necessary skills to become engineers? Do we need to perhaps look at moving towards systems in use on the continent?
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    I think he had his expectations rather high for someone who had just come out of first year which is more like a foundation to build upon than any concrete engineering knowledge. His example of the student's lack of education also probably isn't the best one as it's more common sense or assumed knowledge or stuff you'd pick up very quickly on the job than something that needs to be taught in an engineering degree, and it's likely the student did get taught it and that he'd just forgotten.

    Degrees should definitely include more practical elements, I think the issue is more when they should be introduced and for whom. For example the practical elements of my degree really start coming in during 3rd year and the MEng students get a lot more of them than the BEng. Some of the practical elements I had in second year should have happened a year earlier e.g. programming and system design using circuits, or for some stuff we were told how to do it on paper but not put in a lab. Overall though stuff like Formula Student wasn't really an addition so much as a head start on stuff we would do later in the course.

    I think industry should get more involved though, if they're not getting involved with running ITPs or providing internships as a method of training then they probably shouldn't complain about what the graduates they recruit don't know.

    The systems I've seen on the continent for degree level education are much more theoretical than my course, so I'm not sure how much that would help.
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    (Original post by Helloworld_95)
    I think he had his expectations rather high for someone who had just come out of first year which is more like a foundation to build upon than any concrete engineering knowledge. His example of the student's lack of education also probably isn't the best one as it's more common sense or assumed knowledge or stuff you'd pick up very quickly on the job than something that needs to be taught in an engineering degree, and it's likely the student did get taught it and that he'd just forgotten.
    I agree. A first year engineering undergrad isn't going to be best placed to perform general drawing duties. I don't know how things work in other industries, but in oil & gas, the production of drawings is generally performed by designers/draughtsmen, who usually come from apprentice backgrounds.

    Standardisation of fasteners is probably common sense. Should be perhaps covered very briefly in an introduction to design module as a very basic design consideration. Many of the other things complained about are probably also common sense, in engineering. However, given that few students turn up to university with experience of actual hands on practical work, common sense isn't so common any more. I think that's one of the key issues: students aren't entering universities with the same background in practical work than they used to. This means that many of today's engineering graduates aren't at the level that some engineers in industry would expect them to be at.

    Degrees should definitely include more practical elements, I think the issue is more when they should be introduced and for whom. For example the practical elements of my degree really start coming in during 3rd year and the MEng students get a lot more of them than the BEng. Some of the practical elements I had in second year should have happened a year earlier e.g. programming and system design using circuits, or for some stuff we were told how to do it on paper but not put in a lab. Overall though stuff like Formula Student wasn't really an addition so much as a head start on stuff we would do later in the course.
    I also had a lot more practical elements during my MEng year (although that was a function of the group project I did, rather than the course structure). I do think, though, that it should be taught earlier. Probably a good idea to have it right at the beginning of the degree.
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    (Original post by Smack)
    I agree. A first year engineering undergrad isn't going to be best placed to perform general drawing duties. I don't know how things work in other industries, but in oil & gas, the production of drawings is generally performed by designers/draughtsmen, who usually come from apprentice backgrounds.
    Absolutely, and I think a lot of the comments in general were comparing graduates to those from training schemes like apprenticeships. Of course someone who has been hands on nearly every day for the past few years is going to have better practical skills than someone who's been in a lecture theatre or at a desk for half that time

    Standardisation of fasteners is probably common sense. Should be perhaps covered very briefly in an introduction to design module as a very basic design consideration. Many of the other things complained about are probably also common sense, in engineering. However, given that few students turn up to university with experience of actual hands on practical work, common sense isn't so common any more. I think that's one of the key issues: students aren't entering universities with the same background in practical work than they used to. This means that many of today's engineering graduates aren't at the level that some engineers in industry would expect them to be at.
    Yeah, I was spoiled by being the son of an IT specialist and the grandson of a mechanic so I got a lot more practical exposure than other people before university. It's understandable why they don't have the practical experience that previous generations had though, their parents can afford to hire repairmen so don't maintain their knowledge or have the opportunity to teach their children and a lot of things which you used to be able to take apart for fun are now designed to be less repairable.

    I also had a lot more practical elements during my MEng year (although that was a function of the group project I did, rather than the course structure). I do think, though, that it should be taught earlier. Probably a good idea to have it right at the beginning of the degree.
    I don't think it should really be taught earlier to the point where it becomes a major part of early years so much as there should be a captivating introduction to it at the beginning, something like "Here's an RC car with the motor uninstalled, take it apart and install the motor" would be great. Have it as a 0 credit module where you have to attend x out of y sessions per semester to keep them in practice and you'd end up with a lot of practically inclined engineering grads.
 
 
 
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