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EEUK comments on the BIS response to the Wilson review

Enterprise Educators UK has responded to the BIS report ‘Following up the Wilson Review of Business-University Collaboration’ which can be viewed here.

Enterprise Educators UK welcomes the government’s continued highlighting of the importance of the relationship between universities and the business sector. We entirely concur with the sentiment that ministers “recognise the value of entrepreneurialism, the practical application of research, and graduates who are not only well-informed and educated, but are also well-rounded and employable.”

We are encouraged by the government’s extension of the Graduate Talent Pool initiative for three more years, the creation of a National Centre for Universities and Business through the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE), the continued support for both the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs (NACUE) and the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), and also the work that the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) and the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) are doing to develop the Higher Education Achievement Report (HEAR) to encourage more graduate recruiters to take a more rounded view of employability.

 

Nonetheless, we were disappointed that government have not taken the opportunity to adopt either of Sir Tim’s recommendations as regards embedding enterprise education in the curriculum or using the Enterprise Alliance as a vehicle to review the definition of ‘graduate employment’ to include graduate entrepreneurs within the Key Information Sets.

 

We had welcomed Sir Tim’s reflective recommendation that universities should have strategies for both extra-curricular entrepreneurial education opportunities and embedding enterprise skills development in the taught curriculum. Whilst the continued government support for student enterprise societies is welcomed there are clear limitations to this strategy in terms of institutional reach and the significance with which students and university staff regard enterprise education. This we believe will continue to be a hurdle until adequately addressed.

 

We would therefore strongly encourage the government to look again at measures that encourage universities to embed enterprise and entrepreneurial education in the curriculum. As the Wilson Review highlighted there is a wealth of excellent practice in the UK and it is a great shame that government do not seem to have championed the established breadth of evidence-based approaches. Nonetheless, Enterprise Educators UK, alongside our Alliance partners and an expanding network of organisations which support the development of enterprise skills, will continue to champion the case for contextualised and embedded enterprise education as a vital component alongside extra-curricular activities at our institutions.

 

The consultation on the QAA guidelines for Enterprise & Entrepreneurship Education is now complete and EEUK are proud to have played a central role in what was described recently in New Zealand as an international ground breaking enterprise education initiative, receiving interest from Chinese, Australian and American policy leaders. We will continue to help to develop and finalise and publish those guidelines this summer, as we anticipate them to be an invaluable resource for educators and essential to further course development within institutions.

 

Finally, Sir Tim Wilson will be one of the keynote speakers at this year’s International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference (www.ieec.co.uk) in Plymouth in September and we look forward to hearing his views on the government’s response to his recommendations.

In summary:

  • We welcome the evidence and research-based approach to developing Business-University collaborations.
  • We welcome the initiatives noted above, CIHE, NACUE, NCEE, AGCAS, AGR and HEAR.
  • As educators who champion enterprise education, we are concerned at the lack of overt support for the broader education eco structure that is, in our view, central to making this work.

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