The need for engineers in our modern world is undeniable. Industry, professional bodies and governments provide a constant stream of communication to this effect, communication that has stimulated massive efforts in the field of engineering education over recent years.

This paper explores the case of a UK higher education institution where ‘coherence’ has been the main driver in terms of engineering education development.

By viewing the sections of the educational journey as connected sections of a whole, the transition losses and opportunities for disengagement are minimised. This then leads to a higher quality engineering education experience that helps to promote an innovative mindset able to capitalise on non-traditional opportunities for delivering engineering education.

This latter point will be the focus here, in particular the introduction of a suite of Professional Engineering programmes. In 2006, the Engineering Council in the UK initiated the Engineering Gateways programme. Recognising that there was much latent engineering talent in the UK workforce, the programmes developed as part of the Engineering Gateways initiative focused on developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of people already engaged in engineering work.

The examples explored fit into the global context as they are not focused on the UK. A key component of the work undertaken has been with companies engaged in the oil and gas sector, in particular BP in both Angola and Indonesia. The desire of governments to see more nationals represented in the workforce, especially at the higher levels, has resulted in programmes being developed at both bachelor's and master's level to enhance the engineering talent. The students are engaged in full-time work, and the programmes are work-based, but without a fixed curriculum.

The opening element of the programme requires the students to review their career and then develop, in line with the programme requirements, a personalised learning pathway. This is done with the support of an academic and a professional supervisor.

The programmes have been operating for 5 years, with the first graduates starting to complete now. The programmes offer benefits to all parties, yet the challenges around the work environment and culture in particular need to be adequately understood and accounted for.

In order to develop a better understanding of the programme value, the work has been the subject of an ongoing research project. The potential of the programmes to help develop the very best engineers and leaders is now starting to become apparent.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Engineering Council. Gateways Development Fund Project: Flexible Pathways to becoming a Professional Engineer. Review of Activity 2006 – 2011. 2011;, Available from: http://www.engc.org.uk/ecukdocuments/internet/document%20library/Engineering%20Gateways%205%20Year%20Report.pdf. Accessed 30th September 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Engineering Council. UK-SPEC. Third Edition. February 2014. Available from http://www.engc.org.uk/ukspec.aspx. Accessed 30th September 2014.
  3. IMechE. Education for Engineering: IMechE Policy Summary. London: Institution of Mechanical Engineers 2009.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. RAEng. Engineering: House of Commons Committee on Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills. London: Royal Academy of Engineering 2008.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Boud DSolomon N, eds. Work-Based Learning. Great Britain: Open University Press 2001.
  6. Lucena J, Downey G, Jesiek B, Elber S. Competencies Beyond Countries: The Reorganization of Engineering Education in the United States, Europe and Latin America. Journal of Engineering Education. 2008; 97:4:433447.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. RAEng. Educating Engineers for the 21st Century. London: Royal Academy of Engineering 2007.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Allan M, Chisholm CU. The Development of Competencies for Engineers within a Global Context. Engineering Education 2008 Conference, 14th – 16th . July 2008.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Glew B, Elsworth T. Development of a work-based learning MSc course which incorporates the development and demonstration of professional engineering competence standards. Engineering Education Conference 2010. 6th – 8th . July 2010.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Glew B. A model of critical reflection within a work-based learning programme. 42nd SEFI Annual Conference. 15th – 19th . September 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Fitzgerald A. Educating new Global Engineers by Re-Cycling the old ones. 42nd SEFI Annual Conference. 15th – 19th . September 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Andrews J, Clark R, Glew B. A Matter of Professionalism? Reflection & Reflexivity in Continuing Engineering Education & Practice. Proceedings of the 1st World Engineering Education Conference. 2011. Available from: http://www.sefi.be/wp-content/papers2011/T1/222.pdf. Accessed 21st  July 2014.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error