Watchdog encourages more direction for budding entrepreneurs

Students should be offered the chance to learn entrepreneurial skills at university before they enter the job market, according a report by the higher education standards watchdog.

September 23, 2012

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) worked with higher education and careers experts, as well as business organisations, to produce the report, Enterprise and entrepreneurship education: Guidance for UK higher education providers.

The QAA reports how 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 preparation for employment.

It recommends universities should encourage membership of student enterprise societies, participation in community-based projects or in business "incubators", which offer opportunities for students to create their own new businesses while still at university.

"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," said Laura Bellingham, a development officer at the QAA.

"Graduates will require skills in enterprise in order to compete in a changing job market or to create self-employment opportunities.

"One challenge for higher education providers is to make students aware of the opportunities for enterprise that are available beyond the taught learning environment.

"If enterprise is embedded into the curriculum, it can springboard interest toward extra-curricular support."

The guidance document follows a review of business education earlier this year by Sir Tim Wilson, former vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire.

The Wilson Review identified the need for enterprise education and entrepreneurship opportunities for students in higher education, including more opportunities for postgraduate research students to engage with industry.

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