Gilsenan, J. and McGrath, M. (2013) INTEGRATING INDUSTRIALLY-RELEVANT PROJECT WORK INTO ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMMES. In: 6th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation. 18th - 20th of November, 2013., Sevile, Spain.


The provision of technically-relevant Industry-informed syllabi is the ongoing challenge for all 3rd level engineering and technology programme teams. This is particularly important in the industrial world of today when we consider the pace of development within the majority of technical sectors. 3rd level programmes who meet this challenge produce graduates who are much in demand and can transition from education to industry with ease. Exposure to industrially-relevant projects as well as access to the daily operation of such facilities provides real context for these students’ studies and can enhance academic performance across the programme modules. This paper outlines benefits and challenges experienced from the integration of industrial projects into a level 7 engineering programme in DIT, Dublin, Ireland. Industry-informed education does come with a caveat. A balance must be struck between the academic rigour demanded by a professionally-accredited 3rd level academic engineering programme and the specific interests of industrial partners. 3rd level institutes of technology are not ‘training centres’ who can cater to the technical whims of all relevant industries. We must produce problem-solvers who can demonstrate the flexibility and adaptability required to successfully operate within a wide range of environments within relevant sectors. The primary aims of the programme are presented as well as the Background and evolution to the existing project arrangements. Identification of industrial partners, the nature of the projects, subsequent communication between students and industry personnel, grievance management, assessment and project ownership are discussed. The expectations of the industrially partners versus the requirements of the academic partner can differ and must be addressed at the early stages of project definition. The personal experiences of all the partners involved in the arrangement over the last 10 years have been used in the development of a presented framework which can be implemented by level 7 engineering providers elsewhere.

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