Professional Roles Model


The model was developed to enhance professional and self-awareness by enhancing reflection regarding:

  • Skills mismatch
    • Are engineering students well prepared for the labor market in terms of non-technical skills?
  • Expectation mismatch
    • Do students know what engineering is and what engineers do?
  • Lack of self-reflection
    • Do students know what kind of engineer they want to be?


Based on this reflective instrument, 2 tests were developed.

On the KU Leuven PREFER website, you can find more information (video, good practices, manuals) for students, instructors or organisations.

Feel free to contact us if we can support you in using the PREFER model!


  • focus on early career engineers
    • in order to manage expectations;
  • independent of discipline or sector
    • ​​​​in order to address non-technical competencies);
  • endorsed by the professional field and higher education
    • in order to involve all stakeholders in regard to the mismatch;
  • dynamic to use
    • in order to address the dynamic labor market ánd the applicability in education.


Research showed that a better understanding of the professional future and engineering identity had positive results for student learning and study choices, and for employability and job satisfaction. The PREFER model is a valuable instrument to create professional and self-awareness. It triggers reflection and understanding of what engineers do and what engineer one wants to be.

(c) Craps, Pinxten and Langie (2018)

3 roles ...

a more innovative role (focus on new edge ideas and products), a role focused on optimization (increasing efficiency and reliability) and a client-focused role (customer-tailored) were developed, regardless of the engineering discipline. 

with a different set of essential competencies.

a set of professional (non-technical) competencies that industry requires to be successful in the different roles were identified in close collaboration with engineers and HR managers from SME's and large companies in different fields. 

Thankful for the great cooperation of:

The PREFER project is cofunded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Erasmus+ Knowledge Alliance - 575778-EPP-1-2016-1-BE-EPPKA2-KA

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