Every year, around 35% of engineering graduates (mainly female and ethnic minority graduates) in the UK choose roles outside engineering (EngineeringUK 2019) . Given that engineering as a profession struggles to attract recruits, this represents a significant loss of qualified talent the profession can ill afford. A possible reason why engineers choose not to practise after qualifying may be that they have not developed a professional engineering identity during their engineering education. Eliot and Turns (2011)  define professional identity as “personal identification with the duties, responsibilities, and knowledge associated with a professional role”. Engineering identity is the extent to which students identify themselves as engineers. Research shows that engineering identity is an important indicator of persistence in both engineering education and the engineering profession (Godwin, 2016)  (Beam et al 2009)  (Cech et al 2011) . The purpose of this research is to find ways of reducing the number of engineers who graduate and then do not practise, by identifying ways in which they can better develop their engineering identity during their studies. The findings presented in this paper are surprising in that they seem to indicate that the four years of a degree apprenticeship have had little impact on students who already had either low or high identification with engineering. Engineering educators should consider how the development of an engineering identity can be supported in engineering degrees.