In scanning the internet for information on engineering roles, I stumbled across an the web page of James Trevelyan, a professor at the University of Western Australia. He is leading research into Engineering Learning and Practice. An interesting eleven-minute introduction from 2008 can be viewed online. It appears that Dr. Trevelyan is of the opinion that universities teach relatively few of the skills required in engineering practice.
A recorded web conference conducted in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin indicates that studies of engineering practice here in the United States are also being conducted. A quick sampling of this conference provided several insights, one of which is that incoming engineering students are unaware of their future duties; nobody wants to think that they will be responsible for production or maintenance—they mostly anticipate being designers and researchers. There is a lot of information is available on Prof. Trevelyan’s site; it will take me a while to try and digest it all. Better too much data than too little!