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Enhancing employability through leadership training

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conference contribution
posted on 14.12.2017 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.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Proceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017 - Education Excellence for Sustainability, SEFI 2017


356 - 363


WILLMOT, P., 2017. Enhancing employability through leadership training. IN: Quadrado, J.C., Bernardino, J. and Rocha, J. (eds). Proceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017, Education Excellence for Sustainability, Azores, Portugal, 18th-21st September 2017, pp. 356-363.


European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI)


AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at:

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This is a conference paper.






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