Enhancing employability through leadership training

2017-12-14T09:55:03Z (GMT) by Peter Willmot
Most university engineering degrees include elements of teamwork experience to a greater or lesser extent and students are frequently placed in positions of leadership. Few universities, however, actively develop leadership skills or provide targeted training as a primary objective within course modules. Leadership coaching is a competence that is outside the experience of most engineering academics and providing it offers a new challenge for them. This paper compares two models for teaching 'leadership', offered as options in the final-year of an undergraduate engineering programme. Both use methods far removed from the usual diet of lectures and examinations. One is focused around a semester-long activity where senior students take responsibility for a team of younger students undertaking an industrially-based project. It is supported by a series of activity-based workshops. The second has similar objectives but is very different in style; it encapsulates a three-day intensive outdoor management course that exemplifies team-work and leadership theory through hands-on activities and provides the main focus for precourse learning and post-course assignments. This paper describes the two variants and the philosophy that inspired them. A short survey reveals how a year-group of students responded to the different training methods and provides a comparison of the two educational models.