Entrepreneurship for all?
Interestingly, only 15% in the UUK poll felt that university developed their entrepreneurship skills, despite all four UK governments considering these critical to economic success. Of course, this may be because the word ‘entrepreneurship’ is still only associated with business start-ups.
The 2018 QAA guidelines for enterprise and entrepreneurship education (EEE)[i] define ‘enterprise’ as ‘[combining] creativity, originality, initiative, idea generation, design thinking, adaptability and reflexivity with problem identification, problem solving, innovation, expression, communication and practical action’. ‘Entrepreneurship’ is then the ability to apply these skills to create cultural, social or economic value. This may be by starting a business, but can also be as an ‘intrapreneur’ within an existing private, public or voluntary organisation.
These are precisely the skills that employers tell us they need, consistently ranking aptitude and attitude ahead of formal qualifications[ii]. We know that they enhance graduate employability, will be of particular use to the growing number of graduates joining small businesses, and are critical if we are to solve the many ‘wicked problems’ we face today. Advance HE’s recently published EEE framework emphasises its potential value to any learner[iii].
With our students entering a job market that is changing rapidly as technology advances, we surely need to do everything possible to help them develop these skills, even if they may initially resist the challenge.
[i] Quality Assurance Agency (2018) Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education: Guidance for UK Higher Education Providers. https://www.qaa.ac.uk/docs/qaas/enhancement-and-development/enterprise-and-entrpreneurship-education-2018.pdf?sfvrsn=15f1f981_8
[ii] CBI (2018) Educating for the Modern World: CBI/Pearson Education & Skills Annual Report. https://www.cbi.org.uk/media/1171/cbi-educating-for-the-modern-world.pdf
[iii] Advance HE (2019) Essential Frameworks for Enhancing Student Success: Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education. https://s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/assets.creode.advancehe-document-manager/documents/advance-he/Framework%20for%20enterprise%20and%20entrepreneurship%20education_1573034408.pdf