Teaching Transferable Skills to Doctoral Level Engineers—The Challenge and the Solutions


At Sheffield University, we designed a “Skills Diploma” that supports and certifies our graduates in the areas of Transferable Skills. The Diploma in Personal and Professional Skills for Centers of Doctoral Training (CDT’s) has been built into the 4-year PhD scheme in the following format: Part of the Diploma in Year one provides training in essential personal effectiveness skills to enable students to carry out their PhD research projects; training covers skills such as networking, communication & presentation, motivation, assertiveness, project and time management and creative thinking and later in Year three, students build on the personal skills training delivered in year one and focus on professional skills required in business and industry. Students record their reflections and development in their Personal Development Planning (PDP) log supported by in-class and on line tutorials. A “blended learning” teaching approach is adopted with interactive sessions, including work in small groups, short presentations, individual reflection, plenary discussions and structured tasks. Students are encouraged to take a reflective approach to their learning and to identify their own additional training needs. A very important part of their learning experience is
the SME Project where groups of students have to solve “real” problems and present their solutions within two working weeks. The teaching strategies and methods, learning objectives, assessment and feedback have all been constructively aligned within a flexible curriculum and we believe that the approach outlined above represents a paradigm shift in training tomorrow’s leaders for UK industry.


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Kapranos, P. (2014) Teaching Transferable Skills to Doctoral Level Engineers—The Challenge and the Solutions. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 66-75. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.25014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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