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How was it for you?

So hot off the heels of the 11th successful International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference together at Liverpool John Moores University I’ve been reflecting on the 3 days we spent and what my key take home points were. Words such as ‘difficult’ ‘evidence’ and ‘change’ were used quite a lot and we could get quite downbeat about that. However, alongside this I also heard words such as ‘community’ ‘collaboration’ and ‘capability’ used in equal measure, if not more.

In difficult circumstances we have a pioneering role to play (Maggie O’Carroll) – there are a lot of problems but as educators we have the solutions or the ability to create them and we must continue to tackle them head on. To support this we need to evidence the work we do, it’s becoming increasingly more vital for us to secure the resource to sustain and grow what we do, so let’s continue to embrace the impact agenda and ‘shout’ louder about what we all do and the criticality of this work to the HEI sector and UK GDP. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying “change is the only constant in life” and whether it’s the Higher Education and Research Bill incorporating the TEF or Brexit, I cannot see an alternative than we always need to be ready for change and must equip our students with such a mindset too.

One thing that always strikes me about IEEC is the community that we have built and how welcoming that is to new members – I’ve never met a friendlier bunch of people and that’s powerful in times of constant change. Collaboration between existing members and those new to the EEUK family provide huge advantages in getting activities off the ground and in shaping our ability to deliver change and influence policy. With nearly 300 delegates at IEEC the capability we have is immense but we need to grow this. Getting more people bought into our vision and developing future enterprise educators and leaders is essential in order to meet the demands of students and policy makers.

The 3-days at LJMU reinforced the excellent work we are all doing, the impact that’s having on changing lives and communities, and the importance of UK enterprise and entrepreneurship education on both our own and international economies. We should not lose sight of that. Working together across institutions and sectors we need to influence policymakers and funders to invest in the sustainability and growth of enterprise and entrepreneurship education in the UK – it’s clear we cannot progress as a nation without it.

There is one action you can take right now to influence those policymakers – at IEEC2016 Professor Tim Dafforn of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) challenged the audience to tell him what needs to be done to improve student enterprise education in the UK. Whether you attended or not, have your say by completing Professor Dafforn’s survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SIN_REVIEW_UK 

Gurpreet Jagpal, Chair EEUK.

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