The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus

The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
The Engineer
of the Future
White Paper 2018
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
001   The Engineer of the Future

                                   Foreword                                                                    05

                                   Executive Summary                                                           08

                            CHAPTER ONE
                            Work on Employability and Skills

                                   1A. Skills Mismatch and Employability                                      17

                                   1B. Defining Employability                                                 19

                                   1C. Employability Skills                                                   21

                                   1D. Engineering and Employability: The Changing Landscape of Engineering   23

                                   1E. The Global Engineer                                                    25

                                   1F. Stakeholders’ Roles in Promoting Employability                         27

                            CHAPTER TWO
                            Skills & Competencies
                            Discussions within AGUPP and Airbus

                                   2A. Highlights of Discussions from Previous AGUPP Meetings                 31

                                   2B. Skills and Competencies at Airbus                                      33

                                   2C. Developing Skills and Competencies at Airbus                           37
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
The Engineer of the Future    002

How Universities and Industry Can Best Work Together

    3A. University-Industry Collaboration and AGUPP                                         42

    3B. Improving University-Industry Collaboration                                         43

    3C. University-Industry Collaboration in Practice                                       45

          ISAE-SUPAERO and Airbus Defence and Space

          Master of Science in Space Applications and Services                              47

          Case Study 2: Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy                                   49

          Case Study 3: Airbus Fly Your Ideas                                               51

          Case Study 4: HAW Hamburg New Flying Competition                                  53

          Case Study 5: Airbus Group Minds Master in Professional Development 4.0           54

          Case Study 6: IMT Challenge Industry Mix                                          55

          Case Study 7: Georgia Tech Grand Challenge                                        56

          Case Study 8: Cyber Challenge CTF                                                 57

          Case Study 9: University of Exeter Green Consultants                              58

    The Airbus Global University Partner Programme Charter                                  60

    Airbus Integrity Principles                                                             64

                                              Published aby Airbus Employment Marketing
                                       for the Airbus Global University Partner Programme
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
003   The Engineer of the Future

The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
The Engineer of the Future   004

This paper was written by Monica Collins of Petrus Communications for
Kimble Woodworth and the Airbus Employment Marketing team, on behalf of
the Airbus Global University Partner Programme (AGUPP), with highly valuable
input from the Chief Technology Office (CTO), Digital Transformation Office
(DTO), Cybersecurity and Engineering. Many thanks as well to the following
for their input:

Paul Blackmore
Divisional Head for Student Employability & Academic
Success, University of Exeter

Holger Brinkmann
Engineering Resource and Competence Strategy,
Airbus Helicopters

Alice de Casanove
Innovation Culture Lead,
Airbus Defence and Space

Uwe Geier
Manager, Competence and Learning & Employment
Airbus Helicopters

Aldert Kamp
Director of Education, Aerospace Engineering,
TU Delft

Dimitri Mavris
Regents Professor, Boeing Professor of Advanced Aerospace Systems
Analysis, Langley Distinguished Professor in Advanced Aerospace Systems

Gary Wicks
Corporate Innovator & Innovation Architect with Airbus
Corporate Innovation, Airbus
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
005   The Engineer of the Future

                            AGUPP The Engineer of the Future
                            White Paper 2018
                            by AGUPP
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
The Engineer of the Future   006

The Engineer of the Future White Paper was created in 2014 after the second
Airbus Global University Partner Programme (AGUPP) meeting to capture the
key points from an ongoing discussion among AGUPP stakeholders about:
    • what skills and competencies are needed in future Airbus engineers,
    • and how Airbus and universities can work together to develop
       these skills and competencies.

As the landscape evolves within Airbus and our industry, we continue to also
evolve this paper to keep it relevant, reflecting the dynamic, changing needs
of Airbus and of the engineering profession. The 2018 edition is a result of this
ongoing work.

The overall aim being that Airbus articulates a clear vision of the graduate
engineering skills essential to the continued success of the business;
that Airbus’ partner universities are informed of Airbus’ needs in relation
to graduate skills for the future; and that partner universities are able to
work effectively with Airbus to develop these skills among their graduates.

The paper has been developed and shared with the AGUPP community
to provide stakeholders with insights and inspiration to facilitate useful
collaboration between Airbus and AGUPP universities. Specifically, as Airbus
employees should participate in the programme development structure of each
partner university, the paper is intended to familiarise AGUPP Ambassadors
with trends in the field and with Airbus needs. Practical case studies are
included which serve as good practice examples.
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
007   The Engineer of the Future

                            Content and Sources
                            The paper combines current innovative global research on the attributes of
                            the global engineer; Airbus’ perspective on changing industry needs and
                            the impact on skills required; and universities’ perspective on their role in
                            developing future engineers. This is presented within the broader context of
                            global trends in employability, the engineering skills gap and best practise in
                            university/industry relations.
                            Input to the paper comes from expert panels, workshops, interviews with
                            engineers, academy representatives and experts from across Airbus,
                            feedback from senior AGUPP faculty and external experts in the field, and
                            desk research drawing on multiple sources for example global engineering
                            education organisations.

                            The paper is structured in three chapters:
                                 • Chapter One: literature review, the changing landscape of
                                    engineering, the increasing focus on digital, cyber and rapidly
                                    emerging technologies, and the impact of this on training the
                                    engineer of the future.
                                 • Chapter Two: discussions from the AGUPP community on the
                                    engineer of the future, bringing together input from contributors
                                    across Airbus.
                                 • Chapter Three: benefits of different models of university-industry
                                    collaboration, an overview of the AGUPP programme, case studies
                                    involving Airbus and AGUPP partners.
The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
The Engineer of the Future   008

The Engineer of the Future - White Paper 2018 By AGUPP - Airbus
009   The Engineer of the Future

                             The world is changing rapidly and while this presents tremendous
                             challenges, there are ample opportunities for those who innovate and
                             implement rapidly. Some experts, such as Klaus Schwab, Founder and
                             Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, have argued that we are
                             now entering a completely new industrial revolution. This fourth industrial
                             revolution, Schwab says, is ‘built on the digital revolution and combines
                             multiple technologies that are leading to unprecedented paradigm shifts
                             in the economy, business, society, and individually’1. Several converging
                             driving forces behind this transformation have been identified:
                                   • Globalisation – not a new trend but one that continues at an
                                       increasing pace is particularly impactful when combined with the
                                       other trends listed here
                                   • Digitalisation – the rate of technological change is now exponential,
                                       rather than linear
                                   • The horizontalisation of the socio-economic world – traditional
                                       hierarchies are being replaced. For example, more power transferred
                                       to the consumer and end-user, who are demanding that ‘products and
                                       services that are marketed on a global scale feel local, personalised,
                                       and one-off’.
                                   • The blending of technical, economic, and societal cultures
                                       which results in, for example, individuals with access to easy-to-
                                       use software and tools now able to become manufacturers, and
                                       innovation increasing as diverse stakeholders and cultures come

                               Schwab, K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva, Switzerland: World
                            Economic Forum, p.3.
                              Many of these driving forces are artfully outlined in Kamp. A. (2016). Engineering
                            Education in a Rapidly Changing World. Delft: Delft University of Technology.
The Engineer of the Future   010

Airbus is constantly innovating for the future, and strives to be at the forefront
of the digital transformation by being a digital aerospace champion setting
industry standards. We recognise that in this changing world, engineers will
play an ever more crucial role, acting as intermediaries between technical
specialists and daily life.3

However, we also recognise that due to these changes, the skills and
competencies Airbus requires in engineers are rapidly evolving, in some
cases much faster than the systems in place for training engineers with
these skills and competencies. As a result, talent shortages are prevalent
in fields such as big data (advanced analytics), cybersecurity, artificial
intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), etc.

To best identify – and then develop – the skills and competencies needed
in the engineer of the future, Airbus is committed to communicating and
collaborating with universities and other higher education institutions
providing engineering education. The Airbus Global University Partner
Programme (AGUPP), which brings together Airbus Ambassadors from
across the company and some of the top engineering universities in the
world, facilitates and encourages this communication and collaboration.

With Airbus, AGUPP is leading the discussion on how to best work together
to develop and engage the engineers of the future. Before delving into
the details of these discussions, though, it is first helpful to contextualise
them within the much broader discussions on employability in addition to
the evolving roles of industry and universities in developing students’ and
graduates’ skills and competencies.
011   The Engineer of the Future

                            The Engineer of
                            the Future in Context

                            Engineering, while the focus of this paper, is only one
                            field which is experiencing competency gaps – 43% of                   43%
                                                                                                   OF EMPLOYERS
                            employers in a wide variety of fields globally have said
                            that they cannot find enough skilled entry-level workers,
                            although some experts have argued that this is perhaps                 can’t find enough skilled
                                                                                                   entry-level workers
                            partially due to unrealistic expectations of employers.4

                            On the other hand, unemployment, especially among
                            youth, is increasing even while more youth are pursuing                79%
                            some form of higher education. 50% of youth (ages 15                   OF STUDENTS
                            – 29) are unsure whether their postsecondary education
                            has improved their chances of finding a job, despite                   went into higher education
                            79% of students stating that they went into higher                     to improve job opportunities
                            education to improve job opportunities.5

                            The skills and competencies that make individuals more
                            employable are a mixture of degree-specific or technical
                            skills, plus ‘soft’ or transferrable skills and professional
                            skills or what has been called ‘commercial awareness’.6                • technical skills
                            As the pace of technological change increases rapidly,
                            these transferrable skills and competencies – or more
                                                                                                   • transferable skills
                            generally, the ability to learn – are becoming more                    • professional skills
                            important to employers because employees will need
                            to be capable of using new, disruptive technologies.
                            Universities cannot be solely responsible for developing
                            students’ transferrable skills, however. All stakeholders,
                            including employers, need to play a role.

                               Mourshed, M. et al. (n.d.). Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works. McKinsey
                             Global Institute. Retrieved from
                               Blackmore, P., Bulaitis, Z.H., Jackman, A.H., Tan, E. (2015). Employability in Higher Education: a
                             review of practices and strategies around the world. London: Pearson.
The Engineer of the Future   012

    Competencies of the
    Future Engineer at Airbus

    At Airbus specifically, there are four broad competency areas, which are
    essential in current and future engineers:

       Baseline             Generic             Transversal            Soft
    technical areas        disciplines          disciplines           skills7

    During the 2017 AGUPP meeting, several skills that are especially
    important to Airbus in the current context of digitalisation and increasingly
    rapid technological change were discussed, including:

       •   Digital competencies including advanced analytics and big data,
           cloud and as a service platforms, mobility, etc.
       •   Innovation
       •   Systems thinking
       •   Design thinking
       •   Entrepreneurial thinking
       •   Cyber security skills
       •   Skills related to virtual/augmented reality

    The changing nature of the engineer’s role was also discussed. Today,
    engineers are required to collaborate more and work together in flatter
    hierarchies, uncertainty, and complex environments. Airbus engineers
    will need to start to ‘think statistically, not deterministically’, have more
    interdisciplinary training, and be able to learn continuously.8
    At Airbus, it is important that engineers have not only deep technical
    competencies and a broader range of transversal and soft competencies,
    but also the ability to innovate. This combination takes what is traditionally
    called a ‘T-shaped’ engineer and turns it into a ‘Pi-shaped engineer’, which
    is discussed on pages 34-35.

    See Chapter Two for some examples of each of competencies that fall under each of these categories
    Dr. Matthew Evans, AGUPP 2017 Annual Meeting, Competencies Panel Session
013   The Engineer of the Future

                            Working Together to Develop the
                            Engineer of the Future

                            To be able to better develop the engineers of the future, it is key that
                            universities and industry work together. AGUPP is a platform which does
                            exactly this, and during AGUPP meetings, participants have shared many
                            ideas and best practices on how to effectively collaborate. These include:

                                   •   Regular collaboration between partner universities and Airbus
                                   •   Collecting feedback from all stakeholders, including students,
                                       advisors, recent graduates, etc.
                                   •   Course credit for non-academic work that can develop both
                                       technical and transferrable competencies
                                   •   More university programmes that simulate real life workspaces and
                                       situations, such as team-based projects which require students to
                                       build a product together from start to finish to build the softer, more
                                       collaborative and team-dynamic skills

                            For the full list of ideas, as well as some case studies of programmes already
                            put into place, see pages 38-59. The case studies in this White Paper are
                            meant to give stakeholders examples of how the ideas in this paper have
                            been implemented, and include programmes between a wide range of Airbus
                            divisions and universities in multiple countries.
The Engineer of the Future   014

 Engineer of the Future 2018
 What’s New?

All chapters have been updated in this 2018 edition. Chapter One has been
updated with further input from experts in employability. Chapter Two includes
new input from experts at Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, and Airbus
Helicopters. In Chapter Three, types of and motivations for university-industry
collaborations are explored in more depth. New case studies of collaboration
between Airbus and AGUPP universities are included in order to demonstrate
how collaboration can work to the benefit of all stakeholders.

With this paper, we seek to invite comment and promote further exchange
on the topic, and to encourage effective practical actions to be taken. We
see this paper as outlining a practical, not theoretical, approach to effective
collaboration, and so we look forward in advance to your feedback and
015   The Engineer of the Future

                       1    Work on
                            Employability and Skills
                            The discussion of the engineer of the future is taking place
                            in a much wider context/environment on the employability of
                            graduates given current competency gaps across many fields
                            and the changing landscape of higher education.
                            Employability skills and competencies for the engineer of the
                            future are a mixture of technical and soft or transferrable skills,
                            the latter of which are increasing in importance given the rapid
                            pace of technological change today.
                            See pages 25 - 26 for a full list of skills and competencies for
                            the global engineer of the future developed by the American
                            Society for Engineering Education (ASEE).
The Engineer of the Future   016

Engineering educators and relevant industries are
only two of many groups seeking to understand and
      1. the skills that are being taught by universities,
      2. the skills that are desired by employers, and
      3. the relationships between universities and
Indeed, the discussion on the engineer of the future
is taking place within a much broader context on
employability in a changing world.
A review of some recent literature on employability
and university-employer relations is briefly outlined
below, followed by a review of selected literature on
employability in the field of engineering specifically.
017   The Engineer of the Future

                           Skills Mismatch and
                            The concept of employability has been discussed and debated more and
                            more over the past decade, and especially since the economic crisis of
                            2008. This is in a large part due to an increasing concern with the matching
                            of skills that are needed and desired by employers with the skills that those
                            entering the labour market actually have. A skills gap already exists today,
                            especially for high-skilled jobs, and is projected to increase if nothing

                            For example, Boston Consulting Group carried out research in 2014 on
                            25 developed and developing countries around the world, and found that
                            in 2020, 10 out of 25 countries will experience overall labour shortages if
                            no action is taken. By 2030, this number raises to 20 out of 25 countries
                            expected to experience shortages in labour. The estimated cost of these
                            labour imbalances is estimated at USD10 trillion. 9

                            The problem of skills mismatch is especially prevalent among those aged 16 to
                            29. According to the OECD, 75 million youth (16-29) are currently unemployed. 10
                            However, only 43% of employers agreed that they could find enough skilled
                            entry-level workers in a survey performed by McKinsey Global Institute. 11
                            The same survey revealed that 50% of youth (ages 15 – 29) are not sure that
                            their postsecondary education has improved their chances of finding a job. 12
                            This is despite the fact that 79% of students say that they went into higher
                            education to improve job opportunities. 13

                            Pressure due to the skills gap outlined above, as well as increasing
                            scrutiny of the contribution that universities make to the economy overall
                            and a rising concern with return on investment by students, has induced
                            universities to take more of a role in adapting educational provision in order
                            to better develop the employability of their graduates. For industry, on the
                            other hand, the challenge is to articulate their evolving needs in advance.

                                Strack, R. et al. (2014, June). The Global Workforce Crisis: $10 Trillion at Risk
                                 OECD (2015, May 27). OECD Skills Outlook 2015. Retrieved from
                                 Mourshed, M. et al. (n.d.). Education to Employment: Designing a System that Works. McKinsey Global Institute.
                            Retrieved from
                                 Wilson, T. (2012). A Review of Business-University Collaboration. Retrieved from
The Engineer of the Future   018

           Paul Blackmore, Head of Student Employability & Academic Success,
           Education and Student Experience Directorate at the University of Exeter,
           has put together some questions meant to stimulate and inspire new
           and innovative thinking around skills gaps and to lead to action allowing
           industry to take responsibility alongside universities and students. See
           these questions – which include topics such as the time-lag between higher
           education practice and labour market requirements, empowering students
           to take more control of their own skillsets, and more – in the box below.

What do We Really Know about the Skills Gap?
Paul Blackmore, February, 2017

       •   Is the meaning and definition of skills agreed upon amongst employers responding to surveys about
           desired skills? How confident are we that all stakeholders are working with the same definition?

       •   Are we talking about the same ‘level’ of competencies and knowledge acquired by students and
           graduates being inadequate for the labour market or have expectations grown amongst employers?

       •   To what degree is this a mismatch in semantics rather than actual skills or knowledge? To what
           degree do academic learning outcomes need to be translated so that students, graduates,
           academics and employers are all talking the same ‘language’?

       •   Do the methods of measuring the understanding, acquisition and application of skills and attributes
           in higher education need to better reflect that way in which this process is undertaken in the working
           environment? How authentic are ‘work authentic assessment’ methods that are being applied in
           higher education?

       •   Given that technology, knowledge, and practice applied in the workplace are continuously improving
           at pace, and institutions of higher education need time to respond and develop curriculum, is it not
           reasonable to assert that there is always going to be a time-lag between higher education practice
           and the requirements of the labour market?

       •   If we accept this time-lag is always going to exist, does the debate and assessment around the ‘skills
           gap’ pertaining to those leaving higher education need to evolve to consider whether graduates
           have the ability, willingness and evidence to learn and acquire these skillsets once they enter the
           workplace, and as part of their ongoing professional development in the workplace?

       •   Not all employers want the same skills and attributes or prioritise their importance in the same way.
           If students had more understanding of these requirements or ability to research them, would they
           be better able to assess how their personal profile is appropriate to the needs of a given occupation,
           employer or sector? Can all parties do more to empower students to choose the most appropriate
           opportunities and plan to reduce their personal ‘skills gap’ before they reach the job application and
           selection stages?

       •   Considering the significant attrition rates experienced by many employers, how much is this
           actually symptomatic of a mismatch in an individual’s motivations, values and interests in the job
           and organisation, instead of a mismatch of skills?
019   The Engineer of the Future

                            Defining Employability

                            Definitions of employment frequently involve two components: outcomes
                            of employability, and employability skills, or those required to achieve
                            desired outcomes. For example, The European Commission’s Education,
                            Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) defines employability
                            as ‘a combination of knowledge, competencies and personal attributes that
                            make graduates more likely to gain employment and progress during their
                            Many authors, however, highlight that employability cannot be linked solely
                            to employment because it actually ‘encompasses the development of a
                            “combination” or “set of achievements” of skills, knowledge, understanding,
                            and personal attributes; that together make a graduate more likely to gain
                            and remain in employment.’15

                            This idea of defining beyond employment alone can be seen in Professor
                            Mantz Yorke’s definition of employability, which has since been adopted by
                            the UK’s Enhancing Student Employability Co-ordination Team (ESECT) as:

                            …a set of achievements, skills, understandings
                            and personal attributes that make graduates more
                            likely to gain employment and be successful in their
                            chosen occupations, which benefits themselves, the
                            workforce, the community and the economy. 16

                                 Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Eurydice brief: Modernisation of higher education in
                            Europe (2015, p.15)
                            As cited in Blackmore, P., Bulaitis, Z.H., Jackman, A.H., Tan, E. (2015). Employability in Higher Education: a review of
                            practices and strategies around the world. London: Pearson.
                                 Blackmore, P., Bulaitis, Z.H., Jackman, A.H., Tan, E. (2015). Employability in Higher Education: a review of practices
                            and strategies around the world. London: Pearson, p. 10.
                                 Emphasis added. ESECT 2004 (Enhancing Student Employability Co-ordination Team), Learning and Employability
                            Guides. Recent and on-going project covering generic employability within HE.
                            As cited in Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers’ perceptions of the employability of new
                            graduates. London: Edge Foundation.
The Engineer of the Future   020



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021   The Engineer of the Future

                            Employability Skills

                            The above definitions focus on the outcomes of employability, but they all mention that
                            certain skills and competencies, or ‘employability skills’ are required. The International Labour
                            Organisation (ILO) defines employability skills as ‘the skills, knowledge and competencies that
                            enhance a worker’s ability to secure and retain a job, progress at work and cope with change,
                            secure another job if he/she so wishes or has been laid off and enter more easily into the labour
                            market at different periods of the life cycle.’
                            Most authors state that employability skills are a combination of degree-specific or technical
                            skills, transferrable or ‘soft’ skills, and commercial awareness.17 After surveying more than 350
                            employers across nine industries in 15 of the world’s largest economies, the World Economic
                            Forum developed these lists of the top desirable skills and competencies according to employers
                            for 2015, and for 2020 to show how these are projected to change:

                            2015                                                        2020

                                 •     Complex problem solving                              •    Complex problem solving
                                 •     Coordinating with others                             •    Critical thinking
                                 •     People management                                    •    Creativity
                                 •     Critical thinking                                    •    People management
                                 •     Negotiation                                          •    Coordinating with others
                                 •     Quality control                                      •    Emotional intelligence
                                 •     Service orientation                                  •    Judgement and decision making
                                 •     Judgement and decision making                        •    Service orientation
                                 •     Active listening                                     •    Negotiation
                                 •     Creativity    18
                                                                                            •    Cognitive flexibility

                                 The term ‘transferable skills’ is often used in place of ‘soft skills’ in the rest of this paper in order to better highlight the
                            nature of these skills – those that can be used within nearly any professional context.
                                 World Economic Forum (2016). The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial
                            Revolution. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
                            For another study what asked employers about desirable skills in employees, see:
                            Lowden, K., Hall, S., Elliot, D., & Lewin, J. (2011). Employers’ perceptions of the employability of new graduates. London:
                            Edge Foundation, p. 12.
The Engineer of the Future      022

Highly Employable Engineer Graduate
Source: Adapted from Morgan, M., & O’Gorman, P. (2009).





          Communication                                                                                                                    time
             Skills                                                                                                                      schedules



                                                                                                                                     within budget


                   In addition to technical competency and transferrable skills, Blackmore et
                   al. highlight commercial awareness, which they define as ‘the ability to work
                   in a business environment and apply theoretical knowledge in real-time,’
                   as well as the closely related concepts of enterprise and entrepreneurship,
                   as important to employers.19 The model above – adapted from Morgan
                   and O’Gorman and seen in Blackmore et al. – shows a highly employable
                   graduate engineer and incorporates the different components of
                   employability discussed above. 20

                        Blackmore, P., Bulaitis, Z.H., Jackman, A.H., Tan, E. (2015). Employability in Higher Education: a review of practices and
                   strategies around the world. London: Pearson, p. 36.
                        Morgan, M., & O’Gorman, P. (2009). Enhancing the employability skills of undergraduate engineering students. In Aung,
                   W., Ilic, V., Moscinski, J., & Uhomoibh, J., (Eds.), Innovations 2011: World Innovations in Engineering Education and
                   Research). USA: iNEER. (pp. 239–246) Retrieved from
023        The Engineer of the Future

      Engineering and Employability
      The Changing Landscape of Engineering

      As seen in Figure 1 above, a highly employable                                    Globalisation is today combined with other megatrends,
      engineering graduate will require not only engineering-                           however, which together have created a unique
      specific skills, but transferrable skills and commercial                          environment. These converging trends have been
      awareness. Stakeholders have recognised, however,                                 identified by experts as:
      that ensuring that these and other skills required of the
                                                                                           •     Globalisation – which has had an impact for
      ‘Engineer of the Future’ are identified and taught is a
                                                                                                 decades already, but is increasing in pace
      challenge today. A skills gap has been identified by
      employers, as demonstrated in the results of a global                                •     Digitalisation – technological change is occurring
      survey of employers performed by Manpower Group in                                         faster than ever before, creating a gap between
      2016 – engineers and technicians are number 4 and 5                                        technological innovation and societal progress.
      respectively on the global list of most difficult positions                                Digitalisation has resulted in the blurring of
      to fill.22                                                                                 boundaries ‘between nations, disciplines, and
                                                                                                 professions, between academia and industry, and
      What has led to this skills gap in engineering?
                                                                                                 between applied science and engineering.’
      Globalisation has been having a significant impact on
      engineering work and the engineering skills needed,                                  •     The horizontalization of the socio-economic
      and is a trend that was already identified by authors                                      world – in which traditional hierarchies are being
      in the early 1990s as one that will require adaptation                                     replaced. For example, more power is being
      in engineering education.23 Globalised markets                                             transferred to the consumer and end-user, who
      have resulted in increased connectedness and                                               are demanding that ‘products and services
      interdependency, and multinational companies have                                          that are marketed on a global scale feel local,
      been growing for the past decades, as well as global                                       personalised, and one-off.’
      product development.26 Author Sarah Rajala illustrates                               •     The blending of technical, economic, and
      this point well in her paper ‘Beyond 2020: Preparing                                       societal cultures – which results in, for example,
      Engineers for the Future’ by listing the locations of                                      individuals with access to easy-to-use software
      the teams required to produce one jet airliner – eight                                     and tools being able to become manufacturers,
      different countries in total.27                                                            and innovation increasing as diverse stakeholders
                                                                                                 and cultures come together. 28

           Manpower Group (2015). 2015 Talent Shortage Survey. Retrieved from
           Arango, I. (1991). From US engineer to world engineer. Journal of Management in Engineering, 7(4), 412-427.
      Moran, R. T., & Richard, D. L. (1991). Preparing technical professionals for cross-Cultural interactions. Journal of European Industrial Training, 15(3).
           Eppinger, S. D., & Chitkara, A. R. (2006). The practice of global product development. MIT Sloan Management Review, 27(4), 1-11.
           Rajala, S. A. (2012). Beyond 2020: Preparing engineers for the future. Proceedings of the IEEE, 100(Special Centennial Issue), 1376-1383.
           These driving forces are artfully outlined in Kamp. A. (2016). Engineering Education in a Rapidly Changing World. Delft: Delft University of Technology.
The Engineer of the Future      024

This particular configuration of megatrends has led World Economic Forum
(WEF) Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, to argue that we
are now in the beginning of a fourth industrial revolution, based on the
following reasons:
      •    Velocity – this industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential pace
           rather than the linear pace of past industrial revolutions
      •    Breadth and Depth – the fourth industrial revolution is ‘built on the
           digital revolution and combines multiple technologies that are leading
           to unprecedented paradigm shifts in the economy, business, society,
           and individually’
      •    Systems Impact – the ‘transformation of entire systems, across (and
           within) countries, companies, industries, and society as a whole’
           marks the fourth industrial revolution
The fourth industrial revolution presents great opportunities for societies
around the world, but also great challenges. Engineers are uniquely
positioned to address these challenges, but this requires engineering
education to adapt to this new environment in which:
      •    The exponential pace of technological innovation has led to
           increasingly rapid changes in industry needs
      •    The aforementioned blending of boundaries and changing paradigms
           mean that engineers of the future need skills that go beyond more
           ‘traditional’ engineering skills, for example systems thinking, the
           ability to work in interdisciplinary and multicultural teams, ethical
           leadership, etc.

     Schwab, K. (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum, p. 3
     For more information on how universities and industries can work together to address skills gaps in engineering, see the
GEDC Industry Forum 2017 Report: Designing the Future of Engineering Education which can be downloaded at this link:
025   The Engineer of the Future

                            The Global Engineer

                            One of the first steps in adapting engineering education to address the aforementioned skills
                            gaps is to agree on what skills and attributes are needed in future engineers. This is what the
                            American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the Global Engineering Deans Council
                            (GEDC), the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES), and Boeing
                            have attempted to do in their Global Engineer project, which started in 2008. To date, the study
                            has identified 20 attributes in 5 groups.

                            engineering-related knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for success
                               •   Understanding of engineering, science and mathematics fundamentals
                               •   Understanding of information technology, digital competency, and
                                   information literacy
                               •   Understanding of stages/phases of product lifecycle (design, prototyping,
                                   testing, production, distribution channels, supplier management, etc.)
                               •   Understanding of project planning, management and impacts of projects
                                   on various stakeholders (project team members, project sponsor, project
                                   client, end-users, etc.)

                            workplace related competencies for global performance
                               •   Communicating effectively in a variety of different ways, methods and
                                   media (written, verbal/oral, graphic, listening, electronically, etc.)
                               •   Communicating effectively to both technical and non-technical
                               •   Maintaining a high-level of professional competency
                               •   Embracing a commitment to quality principles/standards and continuous
                               •   Applying personal and professional judgment in effectively making
                                   decisions and managing risks
The Engineer of the Future      026

individual characteristics needed for global flexibility
      •    Possessing the ability to think both critically and creatively
      •    Possessing the ability to think both individually and cooperatively
      •    Maintaining a positive self-image and possesses positive self-confidence
      •    Showing initiative and demonstrating a willingness to learn

skills and perspectives to work on interdependent global teams
      •    Functioning effectively on a team (understands team goals, contributes
           effectively to team work, supports team decisions, respects team
           members, etc.)
      •    Mentoring or helping others accomplish goals/tasks

society and cultural understanding to embrace diverse viewpoints
      •    Understanding of political, social and economic perspectives
      •    Understanding of the ethical and business norms and applies norms
           effectively in a given context (organization, industry, country, etc.)
      •    Possessing an international/global perspective
      •    Possessing fluency in at least two languages
      •    Embracing an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary perspective

In summary, the attributes of a global engineer: are not
specific to any industry sector or country, should be
accumulated over time, and are a shared responsibility of
universities and industry. 28

     ASEE, GEDC, IFEES (2015). The Attributes of a Global Engineer Project. Retrieved from
027   The Engineer of the Future

                            Stakeholders’ Roles in
                            Promoting Employability

                            While universities and industry/employers are most often cited in discussions on building
                            employability, there are other stakeholders that could play an important role in developing the
                            employability skills and competencies listed in this section. Some of the ways stakeholders
                            can impact the employability of students and graduates, according to Paul Blackmore,
                            Divisional Head for Student Employability & Academic Success, University of Exeter, are below.

                            Universities and Employers
                            Universities and employers can work together to enable students to be more responsive, and help
                            students and graduates beyond university to become more effective lifelong learners. As such, both
                            students and professionals will be more self-reliant in being able to reflect on their current skills
                            and experiences and be capable of identifying skills, their learning styles and knowledge gaps and
                            developing their own continuing professional development (CPD) action plans and career progression
                            relevant to the needs in their role, for the employer and sector.

                            An inherent problem in academia in keeping practice and knowledge content current is the time-
                            lag in approving courses then developing relevant content. To address this issue, universities and
                            employers can collaborate to provide more real-world problem solving in curriculum, which requires
                            employers to provide real-world problems they face and then feedback to students.

                            Enterprise education, commercial awareness, intercultural awareness and career development
                            learning are not traditionally seen as core or mandatory aspects of engineering and STEM degree
                            programmes more generally yet they are absolutely key to an employer and graduate employee.
                            Universities and employers can work together to determine what is possible to teach within higher
                            education, and employers specifically can help universities to better understand the relevance of
                            these areas of learning in engineering occupations.

                            To facilitate university - student - employer communication, universities can leverage virtual learning
                            environments to emulate the online workspaces that today’s engineers work within and adopt
                            Computer-Supported Collaborative Working/Learning approaches used by industry. Such innovation
                            can readily facilitate increased ‘remote’ engagement and input by employers and alumni thus avoid
                            the usual barriers of time and distance between campus-based students and employers.29

                                 Paul Blackmore, personal communication, February 11, 2016.
The Engineer of the Future   028

Professional Associations
Professional associations, depending on the context, can play a more
proactive role in helping students maintain what they learn and in engaging
them in cutting edge issues through student-specific membership and
relevant extra-curricular opportunities. Professional associations could also
require and audit the inclusion and effectiveness of learning outcomes such
as enterprise education, commercial awareness, intercultural awareness
and career development learning. In order to help lighten the related
workloads for employers, professional associations could additionally
collate and provide access to a database of case studies for universities?30

Alumni – especially recent graduates – could play an active role in helping
current students better understand how they can prepare themselves for
the workplace and gain insight from those actively working in their sector
and learn from their experiences whether these are good or bad. Mentoring
schemes supported en masse can also help ensure that the mentor and
employer are benefiting from investment in this time. These might include
exposure to leadership and coaching as well as playing a role in brand
exposure of employers and opportunities and design of programmes the
relevance, currency and usefulness of learning outcomes post-university in
the context of their own work.31

     Paul Blackmore, personal communication, February 11, 2016.
029   The Engineer of the Future

                           Skills and Competencies
                           Discussions within AGUPP and Airbus
                             •     Competencies for the engineer of the future at Airbus
                                   fall under four broad categories: baseline technical
                                   areas, generic disciplines, transversal disciplines,
                                   and soft skills.
                             •     Innovation is a key competency at Airbus. See page
                                   35 for a discussion of the innovation competency
                                   making ‘Pi-shaped’ team members.
                             •     Airbus regularly analyses competency gaps at the
                                   company and develops internal learning solutions to
                                   help close these gaps.
                             •     AGUPP and the Airbus competencies team have
                                   established ongoing dialogue to best determine
                                   and communicate needed competencies within the
The Engineer of the Future   030

The skills and competencies of current
and future employees are of critical
importance to any employer as seen in
Chapter One, which is why the topic is
discussed and developed within Airbus,
and at Airbus Global University Partner
Programme (AGUPP) meetings. This
chapter provides some highlights of
these discussions, both in the context of
AGUPP and within Airbus.
031   The Engineer of the Future

                            Highlights of Discussions
                            from Previous AGUPP Meetings

                            Since the inaugural AGUPP meeting, the topic of the engineer of the future
                            has been a major theme. The latest AGUPP meeting, which took place in
                            2017 in Toulouse, France, included a digital-focused Competencies Panel
                            Session and Competencies Workshop which discussed the skills and
                            competencies needed for future engineers and how AGUPP universities
                            and Airbus can work together to develop these skills and competencies.

                            In AGUPP discussions to date on the engineer of the future, delegates have
                            focused on the fact that today’s students will be the mid-career engineers,
                            experts, change agents or innovators by 2050. Therefore, what they learn
                            today needs to prepare them as much as possible for this future.

                            There are multiple trends that need to be taken into account in order to
                            make sure future engineers are learning what they need to. These include:
                            continued globalisation, rapid technological innovation, more focus on the
                            customer and end-user due to the horizontalization of the socio-economic
                            world, and increased competition and innovation from previously unlikely
                            sources due to the interconnectedness of the technical, economic, and
                            societal cultures.32 Digitalisation – defined as much broader access to
                            data and its multiple related users – is especially having an impact on the
                            field of engineering and is the reason behind many of the competency
                            gaps that exist today.33

                            All of the above means that engineers’ roles are breaking away from what
                            they have been, requiring engineers to think ‘statistically’ rather than
                            ‘deterministically’.34 In addition, collaboration (across locations, disciplines,
                            etc.) is increasing at work, new technical knowledge is being used, and
                            teams and company hierarchies are becoming flatter. These new blended
                            ways of working are becoming the norm thanks to new technologies, for
                            example virtual & augmented reality.

                                 AGUPP 2017 Competencies Panel Session panellist Aldert Kamp mentions these trends in his book Engineering
                            Education in a Rapidly Changing World, Second Revised Edition.
                                 This definition of digitalisation was given by 2017 Competencies Panel Session panellist Geraldine Thiercelin, Head of
                            R&D Processes & Quality, Airbus Helicopters
                                 Quote from 2017 Competencies Panel Session panelist Mathew Evans, VP Digital Transformation Programs, Airbus
The Engineer of the Future     032

Developing Complementary Skills

These trends and new ways of working require that engineers learn not
only important engineering fundamentals, but also roles and skills beyond
those considered ‘typical’ for engineers today: from cyber security to lean
management or logistics management and transportation. So, not only
is there both a role for non-engineers within the business, but engineers
will be required to have an understanding of these roles and skills as part
of the fundamentals of the ‘big picture’ and the elements that contributes
to Airbus’ success.

In addition to atypical roles and skills, it will be critical that engineers
learn complementary non-technical skills (some of which are listed in the
next sections), with the most important being the ability to learn how to
learn.40 For example, graduates will have to cope with an increasingly
virtual environment, working with colleagues in different countries all
over the world. Therefore, another skill to master is to be able to foster
engagement and to build trust in teams spread across different sites and
different cultural paradigms.41 This means that experience and time spent
in different cultures is important; from cross-continental competition teams
that confer on Skype, to exchange programmes and agreements with other
teaching institutions around the world.42 These critical complementary
skills are increasingly part of the discussion surrounding skills for future
engineers, and Airbus is working to advance this discussion for example
through taking part in events such as the GEDC Industry Forum, which
emphasised the importance of non-technical skills in the engineer of the

     As mentioned by Alice de Casanove, Engineering Academy, Airbus Defense and Space, moderator of the AGUPP 2017
Competencies Panel Session
     Parkinson et al. (2010). Developing Cross-Cultural Virtual Teams for Engineering Design Education. Retrieved from http://
     Bremer, D. (2008). Engineering the world. Online Journal for Global Engineering Education, 3(2), 2.
     See for more information on the GEDC Industry Forum
033   The Engineer of the Future

                            Skills and Competencies at Airbus

                            Within Airbus, since its 2013 merger, there has been intensive study of the core competencies (over
                            80 in total), across every single job and function within the Group.

                            These core competencies reflect Airbus’ changing mission. To quote the company: ‘We make things
                            fly.’ As noted by Gary Wicks, now Corporate Innovator at Airbus, this now means designing the
                            architecture of large avionics platforms and systems, integrating components and sub-components
                            of these complex systems and then servicing these platforms. Airbus’ core business activity is in
                            complex systems integration.

                            Four Broad Competency Areas for the
                            Engineer of the Future at Airbus
                            Four broad areas of competencies have been identified as key for engineers of the future at
                            Airbus, based on the company’s long-term strategic assessment of skills and competency
                            requirements. These categories, as well as some examples of specific competencies
                            highlighted during interviews with Airbus competency experts are:

                                      BASELINE                TRANSVERSAL                  GENERIC                     SOFT
                                   TECHNICAL AREAS             DISCIPLINES               DISCIPLINES                  SKILLS
                                         engines,           lean, innovation, design     systems design,           management,
                                      aerodynamics,        thinking, sub-contractor    systems integration,           leadership,
                                     exhaust systems,         management, green        service engineering,      entrepreneurship,
                                   blades and de-icing,       and eco efficiency, IP      configuration        resilience, teamwork,
                                   thermal engineering,        management – for         management, etc.       emotional intelligence
                                   network security and       people who have not                               (and all the various
                                    social data, nuclear   studied core engineering                            facets within), cross-
                                           safety            disciplines, ecosystem                           cultural and intercultural
                                                              thinking – managing                                       fluency
                                                                across networks
The Engineer of the Future   034

The Engineer of the Future
Gary Wicks, AGUPP meeting 2014
    •   Is a complex systems engineer, by nature
    •   Understands both leadership and teamwork – and has learnt skills to improve their proficiency in both
    •   Remembers to keep the end user in mind, and that this is a customer-centric business
    •   Is a design thinker as well as systems and requirement engineer

        In 2017 discussions, experts across Airbus have also highlighted the growing need for graduates
        trained in cyber security, and in data science (including data visualisation and data analysis) as
        well as UI/UX design due to the vast digitalisation trend in companies.

        The combination of the above specific technical skills and transversal and broader skills can
        be cultivated on an individual level or collectively within a company. In an individual, the
        result is a ‘T-shaped’ skills profile. T-shaped is a metaphor used to describe an individual’s
        competencies, where the vertical bar of the ‘T’ represents depth of knowledge and skills in
        a particular field, and the horizontal bar represents knowledge and understanding of other
        disciplines and how these interact with the T-shaped person’s own discipline.38 Collectively,
        the same combination of depth and breadth could be achieved by optimising the short and
        mid-term staffing activities in plants and final assembly lines.
        From an early stage in their career with the company, managers and senior staff now introduce
        early careers technical and engineering employees into the world of complex systems
        engineering. This means that although these employees may continue to focus on one area,
        they will develop a holistic understanding of how their role interconnects with every other part
        of the business, and with employees in different but connected functions, like information
        technology and design. This is ideally matched by a deep knowledge of the elements of
        engineering, which is as important as ever.

        Customer-centric engineers are not only expected to design the ‘perfect’ product (or to develop
        the perfect solution) but also to define which solution will best satisfy customer requirements
        under a set of constraints, including financial ones. Such engineers will be increasingly able to
        combine different internal and external inputs to design such a solution, from identifying those
        inputs, then modelling their interactions in order to successfully integrate them.

            See Karjalainen, T. M. et al. (2009). Educating T-shaped Design, Business and Engineering Professional.
        Proceedings of the 19th CIRP Design Conference – Competitive Design, Cranfield University 30-31 March, 2009. Retrieved
        Professionals-2009.pdf for more information on the T-shaped skill profile. If innovation as a skill is added to the T-shaped model,
        it becomes the ‘Pi-shaped’ model described below.
035   The Engineer of the Future

                                  Innovation as a Key Competency
                                  Focusing company-wide on efficiency means that innovation is an emerging key competency.
                                  That means having an open and entrepreneurial mind-set, and moving towards a fast-to-
                                  market, try-and-fail model. Innovation as a competency relates to other competencies in the
                                  ‘pi-shaped’ ideal Airbus employee, according to Gary Wicks.

                                  This refers to the idea that the ‘T shaped’ engineer mentioned above, are those who appreciate
                                  the existence and importance of other engineering roles and technical disciplines, and are able
                                  to cross technical boundaries conceptually and in vocabulary and ways of working. Extending
                                  this ‘T’ to ‘π’ means engineers are additionally able to work effectively with all business functions,
                                  in particular innovation, marketing and sales, services, finance and procurement.

                                  Design thinking is an important part of this – the ability to work without a roadmap. For example
                                  – conceiving ideas with the ambition of the Concept Plane, without being restricted by a
                                  systems-requirement analysis, or a detailed roadmap of how to deliver the Concept Plane.
                                  Below is an illustration of a ‘π – shaped’ individual.

                                                                                                             UNDERSTANDING AND APPRECIATION
               OF OTHER DISCIPLINES AND HOW                                 AND TECHNICAL
                                                                                                               OF OTHER BUSINESS FUNCTIONS
                                                                                                                         INNOVATION COMPETENCY
                           DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE
                          AND SKILLS IN THE FIELD

                                                                                  TECHNICAL EXPERIENCE

                                  Figure 2: From a 'T-shaped' to a 'Pi-shaped' Individual
The Engineer of the Future   036
037   The Engineer of the Future

                            Developing Skills and
                            Competencies at Airbus

                            To develop the above skills and competencies within the company, Airbus
                            employs engineering and technical graduates with deep knowledge of
                            specific disciplines and progresses them along a development path. Each
                            job now has associated competencies and proficiency levels, and in the
                            future, all jobs will have associated learning paths as well.

                            Engineers have both an annual and a mid-year review. During a session
                            with their manager, employees review where they are versus where they
                            need to be. After identifying any gaps, a structured plan for each employee
                            is designed, which includes development solutions such as training,
                            coaching, challenging projects, mobility within the company. Moving
                            forward, however, it will be expected for employees to self-evaluate on a
                            regular basis and build their own development plan with the support of their
                            management and network.

                            Airbus Academies 2.0 are also used to ensure that competencies are
                            developed and maintained as needed on a broad level within the company.
                            Each Division has its own Academies by function, and there are Group
                            Academies that are common to all Divisions. Focal points within the
                            Academies act as a bridge between the business and HR. Academies work to:

                                   •   Define competency catalogue, strategy, and priorities

                                   •   Analyse competency gaps

                                   •   Define action plan (incl. learning priorities)

                                   •   Specify requirements for new learning solutions
The Engineer of the Future   038

In order to meet identified training and competency requirements, Airbus
continuously introduces new learning solutions, such as blended learning
or social learning, and is currently building a strategy for a future learning

In conclusion, at Airbus, while engineering fundamentals are as important
as ever, future engineers will also need to move beyond 20th century style
‘how to do it’ engineering and gain the skills required to work in ‘what to
do?’ engineering functions. Additionally, because the pace of change in
the world is so fast today, and challenges unstructured and global in nature
as outlined above, future engineers also need to develop the ability to learn
how to learn continuously. Learning is a continuous process which is done
through failing and interacting, and often requires ‘learning by doing’.

Ensuring that graduates are equipped with the skills and competencies
they need as the ways of working are changing both at Airbus and in higher
education will require Airbus and AGUPP universities working together to
adapt. As Yann Barbaux, then Chief Innovation Officer at Airbus said at the
2017 AGUPP meeting, to keep up with changes, a ‘new model which is
more dynamic’ is needed.

Some of the ways universities and industry work together in general, and
some specific examples of how Airbus and AGUPP universities collaborate
are discussed in the following chapter.
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