The Immersive Placement Experience: Sink Or Swim?

M. Shaikh, A. Alaswad, Sarah Junaid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


To excel in their respective engineering fields, engineering students need to be equipped with a combination of technical and interpersonal skills. Central to excellent interpersonal skills is good communication. The aim of the study is to evaluate how well-prepared mechanical and design engineering students felt entering into their industrial placements, using a UK university as a pilot case study. For the study interviews were carried out with final year students who had previously completed an industrial placement year, focussing on communication, workplace diversity, technical working methods and university teaching styles. Reponses were anonymised, coded and analysed using quantitative and qualitative methods. Nine engineering students were interviewed regarding their placement experience and were asked to rate how well they thought their engineering programmes helped in developing these skills. Two key findings were: 1) students on average spent 60 % or more of their placement work using their communication skills and 2) students felt more could be done to prepare them for individual presentations and individual projects before placement. On average the students felt marginally more prepared with the interpersonal skills element compared to the technical skills element. The survey also highlighted that the students' understanding of what falls under the umbrella of workplace diversity was narrow, and they did not classify skill differences as a component of diversity. The student's honest feedback allowed a collation of proposed recommendations for both the mechanical and design engineering courses.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSEFI 2023 - 51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education
Subtitle of host publicationEngineering Education for Sustainability, Proceedings
EditorsGer Reilly, Mike Murphy, Balazs Vince Nagy, Hannu-Matti Jarvinen
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9782873520267
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2023 - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 11 Sept 202314 Sept 2023


Conference51st Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2023

Bibliographical note

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.


  • Communication
  • Diversity
  • Industrial Placement
  • Training


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