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EEUK Meeting with BIS

Chair's Blog

I recently met with members of the Enterprise Directorate of BIS. The new government and its agenda is forcing policy makers to review all the initiatives of the previous administration and provide guidance on what to do in the challenging times ahead.

This has now been more formalised into the Enterprise Education Forum.
Public statements and materials on the websites highlight the importance of enterprise to the new team in BIS, however the demands for financial savings mean that only activities that are felt to be essential or offer real value for money will stand any chance of being supported in the coming spending review.
I am pleased to report that I made sure that the BIS team were aware of the work of our organisation and the efforts we make to support educators in the UK who develop enterprise and entrepreneurship both within and outside of the curriculum.
Following numerous consultations with Enterprise Educators UK Board of Directors, other members of our network and from discussions with other membership-based organisations, we produced a short document for BIS to consider. Unimaginatively called the Enterprise Manifesto, in it a number of things were highlighted, to ensure students in UK universities get access to cost effective enterprise education and the support they need to develop their imagination and creativity, and provide a springboard for those with entrepreneurship aspirations to achieve their goals.

I am pleased to say that this document was well received and that we are seen by government as being proactive in producing such a document. I am sure this will be a foundation for future debate.

It has become very clear, however, from this meeting and from recent communications, that there is a need for evidence of the impact and outcomes resulting from funding received under the previous administration.

NCGE and ISBE are currently charged with mapping this impact in England through their survey which you, or someone in your institution should have received and be in the process of completing. The deadline for completing the survey has now been extended to the end of July. For enterprise educators this is probably the most significant survey that has been conducted in the recent past. It is essential that you ensure your institution returns the most up-to -date and comprehensive information about enterprise education through the survey, in order that we collectively can show the benefit to government of the funding of enterprise education.

One suggestion to BIS in the recent meeting was for Enterprise Educators UK to offer to BIS the chance to get feedback directly from our members on the questions they need answering. We propose progressing this by having a forum at IEEC10 1−3 September in Cardiff. As IEEC10 will have the greatest collection of enterprise educators in one place, it seems the most appropriate venue to start a dialogue. This is your chance to shape government policy through Enterprise Educators UK. Make sure your voice is heard by registering for the event now (www.ieec.co.uk). It is intended that your thoughts will be recorded and used to develop a document we are calling the Cardiff Concordat. So I am looking forward to hearing your views and opinions at the conference.

This will be the first part of the dialogue, further events (ISBE etc) will continue to gather responses. By the Spring 2011, we will have responses from key individuals in universities across the UK; academics, teachers, support staff, researchers and students – providing a comprehensive picture of enterprise education in HE by those who are in the front line, so to speak.

Our new website will soon have on it the Enterprise Manifesto on it so you can review the document and be able to contribute fully to the debate at IEEC10. Enterprise Educators UK is recognised by government for the strength of its membership and their activities. We are your voice − make sure we are informed to take forward your words, thoughts and concerns.

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