Improving employability skills through non-placement work-integrated learning in chemical and food engineering: A case study

Alison Kay Reedy, Maria Lucia Guerrero Farias, Luis H. Reyes, Diego Pradilla

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Preparing work-ready chemical engineering graduates is achieved by integrating the technical skills and knowledge learned at university with employability skills required by industry. While this is most often made through industry placements, non-placement forms of work-integrated learning (WIL) can be highly effective in preparing graduates for the workplace without the issues of locating work placements and ensuring their quality. In this paper, the authors focus on a chemical engineering course that combines non-placement WIL with a problem-oriented/project-based learning methodology, and a problem-solving tool, the Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD) framework. The authors present qualitative data from students, lecturers, and industry partners to evaluate whether the employability skills of creativity and teamwork are developed in the course. Through a process of qualitative analysis, the authors developed five key themes that provide a focused understanding of how the parts of the course relate to one another and drive student learning. The findings of this study indicate that the model of non-placement WIL evaluated was effective in building the defined employability skills; however, there are opportunities for iterative enhancement. The key learnings from this study may guide others interested in building non-placement WIL into chemical engineering education.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)91-101
    Number of pages11
    JournalEducation for Chemical Engineers
    Volume33
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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