Bridging the gap: university to professional qualifications

Pauline Thompson, Donna Surgeoner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)
    544 Downloads (Pure)


    The jump from higher education to obtaining professional qualifications can be a challenging one for many graduates. This can be more of a problem in subjects such as engineering where students do not necessarily leave university with the reflective and planning skills they require to progress into the Initial Professional Development (IPD) stage. The professional institutions would like better engagement with undergraduate students and not all IPD trainees seem to really understand what they need to do despite the guidance currently available. These professional skills do not seem to be taught well, if at all in most UK universities. If universities and the professional institutions can bridge this gap then graduates may be more employable.
    This paper presents a case study where an IPD style portfolio approach is used in the assessment of a final year course on sustainability. This method seems well suited to such a wide ranging course with a large and diverse cohort of students. Feedback from current and ex-students, teaching staff and employers has generally been positive. The challenges of this approach are explained. At university level this is an approach that could be adopted widely, both throughout the engineering curriculum and possibly as a structured approach to presenting dissertations. The professional institutions could consider how they might educate trainees to do their IPD with closer links to Higher Education. As the professional institutions start to implement online systems for IPD they could consider ways to involve undergraduate students in the process.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)189 –200
    Number of pages11
    JournalProceedings of the ICE - Management, Procurement and Law
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2014


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