UCL Centre for Engineering Education


Interprofessional skills required by global consulting engineering companies

21 June 2018

One of the rising challenges for consulting companies in all sectors of the global economy is to retain, develop and extend the range of contracts they secure from clients, and to contribute to the wider welfare of many societies. In the case of engineering firms, succeeding with this challenge increasingly involves striking a balance between identifying the added value a firm offers their potential client compared with their competitors, as well as demonstrating the social contribution they will make to the different societies where they may work through the delivery of sustainable designs, materials and environments.

This is extremely demanding, even for top-performing engineering consulting companies because project work – the dominant form of work – is difficult to design and manage since it involves a high degree of collaboration within teams and between teams and clients. Yet historically engineers, like other professionals, have been trained to think and act within the parameters of their own specialism. Therefore, preparation to work in project teams has rarely been a priority.

The aim of this research project is two-fold:

  • to shed light on the interprofessional skills engineers need for project work, for example, to interact more effectively with clients and the design team, and therefore engage in accelerated professional development;
  • to identify how engineering stakeholders can support learners’ transition from education to employment, and how engineering consulting companies can support engineers’ transition from project team to project team.

This research is therefore a companion of the research being undertaken in another global engineering company looking at graduates’ transition from campus to corporate capability.