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Technical progress is rapid in aviation and automotive engineering. Even if these branches are different in many ways, they also have similarities, especially in the technical and service sectors. Quite a few technological innovations were first used in aircraft, and, after a few years, those innovations received their own applications in automotive engineering. Because of rapid technical development, it is important to determine what knowledge and skills will be needed in the future. This information also predicts the main directions for the education of future mechanics. The main focus of our study was to get respondents (N=81) – experts in the field – to consider their professional competencies from various views and in different time periods, according to the Janus Cones method. Our survey describes future professional competencies that will be necessary for successful working in aircraft technology and automotive engineering.
The result of the study is that skills and knowledge need to be used widely, creatively and combined with thinking to produce a new type of knowledge for competence in a certain context. A thematic content analysis led to the components of professional competencies for aircraft technology and automotive engineering being subsumed under five common categories: vehicle technology and proficiency, quality and environment, safety and security, general skills and knowledge, and customer service. Four of these competencies are clearly context bound to aviation and automotive engineering; however, they might also be usable in other technological branches and various study programmes. General skills and knowledge were the only components that referred to general competencies. The results of this study are intended to help with planning curricula that will meet the needs of the next generation of aviation and automotive engineers.
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