The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has worked with higher education and careers experts, as well as a business representative organisation, to produce guidance for universities and colleges on how to foster students’ skills in enterprise and entrepreneurship
The guidance encourages higher education providers to work with students to develop their skills in these areas across different disciplines.
It provides practical advice on approaches to learning and teaching and looks at how extra-curricular activities combine with learning that takes place within the curriculum.
‘Today’s graduates need to be able to think on their feet and develop a “can-do” confidence, with creative questioning, ideas generation and a willingness to take risks’, says QAA’s Laura Bellingham.
‘Graduates will require skills in enterprise in order to compete in a changing job market or to create self-employment opportunities.’
Current provision for enterprise and entrepreneurship education is fragmented. Some higher education providers offer stand-alone degree programmes in the subject, while others offer training and development as part of careers education and preparation for employment.
Extra-curricular activities both on and off campus are also important. These might include membership of student enterprise societies, participation in community-based projects or business ‘incubators’ – opportunities for students to develop a fledgling idea to into a new business while still at university.
‘One challenge for higher education providers is to make students aware of the opportunities for enterprise that are available beyond the taught learning environment,’ says Dr Bellingham.
‘If enterprise is embedded into the curriculum, it can springboard interest toward
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