Developing tomorrow's engineers: A case study in instrument engineering

McDonnell, L. and O'Neill, D. (2009) Developing tomorrow's engineers: A case study in instrument engineering. Education and Training, 51 (3). pp. 210-214. ISSN 00400912 (ISSN)


Purpose - The purpose of this case study is to outline the challenges facing industry and educational institutions in educating and training instrument engineers against a backdrop of declining interest by secondary school students in mathematics and physics. This case study cites the experience and strategies of the Kentz Group and Cork Institute of Technology, Cork, Ireland in developing tomorrow's engineers, with particular reference to instrument engineers. Design/methodology/approach - The approach adopted is that of a case study which describes activities and processes within industrial and academic settings and the rationale behind them. Findings - The paper finds that educators, accrediting bodies and companies must work in alignment to continue to develop talented instrument engineers. It proposes a campaign to promote mathematics and physics in schools, and determines that companies must work carefully to support young instrument engineers entering the workplace. Research limitations/implications - The paper reflects experiences in case study form of one academic institution and one company, drawing on established principles. Propositions put forward will need testing and in other contexts. Originality/value - Instrument engineers are one of the key factors in enabling the growth of mature and emerging economies, yet their development rarely receives attention in scholarly journals focusing on learning and development. The paper reflects best practice in Ireland with broader lessons for engineering and construction businesses. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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