In our rapidly changing world, the need for engineers has never been greater; even through the current economic downturn; companies in the United Kingdom cannot find enough local engineering applicants to fill their vacancies. That should be good news for the employability of our engineering graduates but it’s not as simple as that, as more and more our engineering graduates have to differentiate themselves from the competition by demonstrating their transferable skills; this in general is true for other countries of the EU, US, Canada and Australia and to a lesser extent for China and the Asian subcontinent where personal connections still play a major role in finding employment. In the Centre of Doctoral Training (CDT) in Advanced Metallics, jointly run by the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester, a coordinated effort has taken place in the design of a Diploma in Personal and Professional Skills that CDT cohorts of students undertake in parallel with their PhD studies. This Diploma involves the cultivation of a multitude of skills that professional engineers use on their daily tasks such as communication, networking, leadership, project management, time management, problem solving, arranging and facilitating meetings, dealing with conflict, or Health and Safety issues, protection of Intellectual Property, ethical issues, to name but a few. In the process of embedding some of these skills to the professional conscience of our CDT students, we have devised with the help of industrial partners a Problem Based Learning (PBL) experience in the form of a two week long exercise at participating SMEs. During this time, the groups of students have to deal and solve ‘real problems’ set by the participating SMEs, under realistic conditions and strict time deadlines. The students are given little support by the academic staff and as much information as required by their SME counterparts and quickly learn the value and use of good communication, networking, group task allocation, time and project management, as they set out to deliver solutions to the problems posed. The students act as ‘consultants’ to the SME companies over the period of two weeks, at the end of which they deliver their solutions to the scrutiny of academic supervisors, SME managers and their peers, in the form of a formal report and presentations. Over the last three years that we have delivered the SME PBL exercise, we have seen increased motivation on the part of the students, development of professional attitudes towards their task, and the practical use of the transferable skills that the Diploma sets out to deliver. A harmonious synoptic learning experience appears to have developed through this exercise bringing together the embedding of transferable skills in a clearly identifiable contextual situation that generates engagement and motivation for the students and satisfaction and confirmation to staff and industrial partners that the newly trained cohorts of engineers will have the skills so much sought after by the UK industry.