A Comparative Investigation of Industry, Academics' and Students' Perceptions on Essential Sustainability Knowledge, Competencies and Skills

Document Type

Conference Paper


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Publication Details

The 1st International Conference on Sustainable Futures Bahrain 24th November 2017


Design and construction educational programmes offered throughout the world play a vital role in sustainability education by producing professionals knowledgeable and competent in sustainable practices. It is extremely important to align the sustainability knowledge of the graduates to the industry expectations. This paper compares industry expectations about essential sustainability knowledge with both academics’ and students’ perceptions of requisite knowledge about sustainability. A three stage mixed research approach was adopted for the study. Essential sustainability knowledge expected from recent graduates was identified through literature review and surveys of design and construction firms. Students enrolled in design and construction programs were surveyed to measure their perceptions about requisite knowledge about sustainability. The position and perception of academics was analysed from survey data. Subsequently, the three sets of data were analysed using Simple Relative Index and Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient techniques to identify the level of importance and degree of agreement between the responses of the industry and the students. Upon comparison of the students versus industry and academia responses about essential sustainability knowledge for recent graduates, it was evident that the perceptions of the students were almost diagrammatically opposite to that of the industry on multiple occasions. The position of academics also revealed some interesting directions. Overall the results of this study clearly indicate the need to embed sustainability focused on Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) curricula for both undergraduate and postgraduate education.

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