Policy not Politics

Written by Alison Price

With a general election underway, we want to focus on policy, rather than politics but working at the intersection of major policy areas, many enterprise educators continue their call for long term direction and clarity, whilst the financial constraints/staff changes across the sector make planning uncertain.

However, against this turbulent backdrop, the latest UUK research  (using LEO data) shows conclusively it is “worth getting a degree” with evidence that becoming a graduate increases earning potential across a life time.  Whilst it is worth noting that this data also shows that the gender pay gap continues, it also serves as reminds that our current students are in a different position to those being tracked in the workforce, having studied through Covid and a cost of living and now a shrinking HE/ funding crisis.  As enterprise educators we might need to understand Why university students “see little point” in attendance (May 2024) as we begin planning our 2024/5 programme especially when the initial findings from the forthcoming (2025) Lilac Review (paywall) show discrimination against disabled entrepreneurs. We need to future proof our offers to support our current students. Such review is also usefully informed by looking internationally at UK graduate outcomes International Graduate Outcomes (May 2024). It calls for improved career support, and as enterprise educators we need to consider our roles in this. The report also calls for more collaboration with employers to ensure skills are embedded in the curriculum, something which our vibrant EntreComp community supports. With further recognition for the diversity within education, the power of alumni and the need to realise the benefits of visa routes. So, plenty to think about as we support our home and international students! And a quick focus on:

Academics: SEDA is seeking your inputs on your use of AI in learning and assessment

Practitioners in Careers: join us for FAST TRACK if enterprise education is new to you!

Influencers: We will be shaping a statement for the new Government, share your concerns

See you at IEEC Belfast 2024

Stand up

Written by Alison Price

Once again, those working across enterprise agenda are being asked “stand up” to make the case for its contribution to student experience.

As the Financial Times (May 2024) declares “UK universities warn of more course closures and job cuts without state help” and this live tracker shows the national scale of HE change, EEUK recognises the hidden losses that started with the end of ERDF funding which has seen (some hidden) job losses in our enterprise centres over the last few years. EEUK believes that the loss of enterprise centres, departments and staff is a short-sighted move as institutions strive to provide students with community and connectivity, support their well being and deliver on the UK’s ambitions for innovation and drive. But as  last month’s report showed, if Vice Chancellors still don’t recognise the so-called ‘third’ mission of institutions, then the inclusion of #EntEd within the institutional mission fails to provide the protection it appeared to signal.

EEUK calls upon the next government to signal and demonstrate clear and consistent commitment to the enterprise and entrepreneurship educational agenda and allow UK universities and colleges to contribute to the development of the regional, national, and international educational entrepreneurial eco-systems that create innovation.

And on a practical lee, EEUK reminds you to “stand up” and shout about your achievements and those of your students – do it for yourself, the sector, and your students. Write blogs, press releases, contribute to your local news and newsletters, and let us know! (and celebrate Great British Entrepreneurs – get your start-up alumni to apply here)!

To help you make a difference in your work this month, we are highlighting:

And be inspired by the stories from the EntreComp Community!

“Challenge accepted”

Written by Alison Price

With work in Scotland progressing to address the challenges of “scaling up” the educational-entrepreneurial enterprise eco-system, this blog looks at the AI, skills, and consultations. 

Firstly, this guide to AI for business leaders gives you useful background and historical overview to support the recent educational discussions (HEPI) which suggests that a large proportion of students express real concerns that AI could replace human support at university, whilst they are also experiencing ‘mixed messages’ ranging from structured use as a study support tool, through to total institutional ban. But its more than CHATGPT with specific start-up support being available to support innovators and the design process. With lack of clarity adding to students stress, work to support students during teaching with a focus on wellbeing is welcomed (check out Advance HE case studies, and details of the TESTA project’s work on assessment and feedback).   

For those thinking beyond the classroom issues of social mobility (Phoenix AGCAS) and a recognition that graduates with disabilities face persistent disadvantages within employability (Luminate) are all bringing skill development to the fore (IESBL).  

MillionPlus universities have, like AGCAS, created a pre-election manifesto putting a focus on skills, whilst a recent report suggests that VC’s focus is primarily on research and teaching, and the “dual” (not triple) mission of the university (TEF, REF, and NOT KEF) it is clear that there is still a huge challenge ahead in terms of #3Es, experiential learning and skill development. 

Fortunately this month has also seen Advance HE review and relaunch the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Framework (as part of their series: “Essential frameworks for enhancing student success”) highlighting 3E (enterprise, entrepreneurship and employability) and further demonstrating its value (see case study book). 

With competences becoming more common-place currency across HE, as well as the latest dialogue across China (HE)  the new ETF “Scaffold” deck, now comes with a guide to “designing competence-orientated learning experiences”.  This echoes approaches to curriculum support but brings DigComp, EntreComp and GreenComp together. 

But if your focus is start-up and growth then be assured that the HESA data is out (April 2024) shows that universities’ engagement in the economy created 165 new spin-off companies and nearly 5,000 new student start-ups in 2022/23 – and you might be interested in these two national consultations to contribute to: 

Firstly HESA are seeking the views on proposed changes to data about knowledge exchange and the interaction of higher education with the wider economy.  Proposed changes to Higher Education – Business and Community Interaction (HE-BCI) survey data include enhanced data regarding the commercialisation of intellectual property (IP) and includes a proposal to compile a national list of university spin-outs so share you voice with colleagues institutionally to get your voice heard  

And there is also a Call for Evidence as part of our Private Business Commission project, which is looking at what more needs to be done to ensure UK companies can grow to their full potential. Looking access to funding, employees, and tax incentives this one might be outside your day job/role, but if you can contribute then the Call for Evidence closes on 23 April. 

 

 

Which bit is for me?

Written by Alison Price

With so much happening, sometimes it feels like things would be easier if everything was dropped into your ‘pigeonhole’ so get the post that you really need.  EEUK is here to help you with that and has split out our policy round up to help you!

For everyone: #EntEd video “shorts”
QAA have released videos that might help you communicate with your student groups: what enterprise and entrepreneurship education is, the kinds of behaviours, attributes and competencies it can support you to develop, and suggest a few simple ways to build an entrepreneurial mindset.

Influencer:  Looking entrepreneurial culture – here are 4 ways to create it!

Practitioner:  Careers  ACGAS shared their manifesto, which contains examples of good practice from HEIs.

A guide to “Common Questions Asked in an Interview and How to Answer Them”

 Practitioner: Business Start-up/International Students/visa

Visa new guide BUSINESS PLANNING FOR YOUR INNOVATION PROJECTS – Issue 1.0 (innovatorinternational.com) and YouTube Channel support materials from Richard Harrison @innovatorinternational

Practitioner: Working with Doc/Post Doc/Researchers: a great blog on communication/ audiences from Vicki Belt (Deputy Director of Impact and Engagement at the ERC) shared at Innovation & Research Caucus Early Career Researcher conference held at Oxford Brookes University on 17th January 2024. 

Academic:

If you are looking for insight on AI use in assessment, then check out this HEPI/Kortext report which suggests that students are looking to engage with AI and AI tools, but warns of a digital divide emerging within the student population

AdvanceHE published ‘Embedding Wellbeing into the Curriculum: A Global Compendium of Good Practice’. Editor Dr @ElliottSpaeth reflects on themes of connection, empathy & compassion in this new collection of case studies

A new ebook, edited by: : David RaeRegina FrankMalcolm Hoare, for those interested in creativity, entrepreneurship, education and learning, and in how these topics interconnect, with 4 key chapters to explore

Researchers: might want to check out HEPI’s comprehensive bibliographic database of the world’s scholarly literature  – core

And finally, for Everyone!

HMRC have released videos and teaching plans – take a look: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-facts-for-children-and-young-people/tax-facts-resources-for-teachers-and-parents including tax videos, such as a short overview on working for yourself tax facts.

The Gender Index report is out, with clear messages for each nation state, and also evidence of not only the under-representation across all areas, but the positive impact (business success/sustainability) that mixed-gender business experience.

Check out this recommended reading from the Enterprise Research Centre (UK) including: Dr Lorna Treanor FRSASusan Marlow, Sally Jones on the damage done by entrepreneurship stereotypes: https://lnkd.in/exTVWQsW and Tom cannon on the history of women’s entrepreneurship policy in the UK: https://lnkd.in/eJP_aadc

Metrics and Measures

Written by Alison Price

Metrics remain a source of EEUK Member frustrations (stemming from sector wide inconsistency of reporting due to lack of clear guidance and lack of auditing) and their recognition of the importance of metrics, tracking and data as critical, underpinning all of the wide range of roles that EEUK represents, and the work that they do.

The EEUK membership are informed by data, highly reliant on metrics and frustrated by their variable importance (in terms of sector-wide accuracy, impact, credibility, as well as institutional reward/return) and their own limited ability to report upon “what is important” – which is not just “business starts” – but culture change, learning, skill development and confidence, within a self-supporting eco-system.  Within HE, a well thought out/considered decision “not to start” is as much a success for an individual or team as a “countable” ‘start-up’ and this positive impact, for individual, others, and culture, is not recognised in any significant way (skills development; confidence building or employability metrics or advancement).  As the development of eco-systems and pipelines, that build the local community as well as the student population, remain uncounted and EEUK members remain frustrated that the spotlight of “counts” distorts activity, creating a conveyor belt mentality that fails to recognise the true value of the experience.

However, the EEUK membership welcome the statistics that demonstrate the impact of the work done, the change made and the celebrate the achievements of staff and students within the local community, the economy and beyond. Our members record, capture and count their engagement, involvement and interactions with employers, community groups, students, staff, and SMEs and want the complexity of this work to be captured. They appreciate that for every successful start-up, there is a pipeline of future (or even mid-life) entrepreneurs, side-hustlers and innovators entering the work force. We know that each “practice-pitch” builds high levels presentation/interview confidence, and that each team challenge creates opportunities for leadership, resilience and emotional intelligence that create examples for applications and interviewers.  Attribution of these elements is extremely difficult, but that does not make it less important or impactful. This is the story that UK metrics needs to tell.

It is also acknowledged that elements that are counted create a spotlight of “over importance” on them, and knowing this should demand robust reporting, accountability, and clear guidance to support that.  With no direct funding attached to metrics, there are no consequences to poor reporting, whether over or under, other than to those working in the sector and EEUK wishes to support the work of its membership through accurate, robust and comprehensive sector wider data.

As members, let us know your views so we can amplify your concerns.

Photo: Charles Deluvio – Unsplash

 

Christmas consultation!

Written by Alison Price

As the year comes to a close, key questions are being asked in national consultations and you can still respond!

EEUK has been sharing its views, drawn from as far back as the APPG report in 2014, where we made the case for an education system fit for an entrepreneur with the ESRC horizon-scanning survey: Work, Education and Skills and following the stand taken by AGCAS to respond to the national consultation on higher education graduate outcome statistics.  Share your views direct with alison@enterprise.ac.uk or contribute to your institutional response.

AGCAS has also launched its report: NEW RESEARCH UNDERLINES THE IMPORTANCE OF ENTERPRISE AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP TRAINING FOR UNIVERSITY CAREERS TEAMS which shows:

  • Two-thirds of careers services now have responsibility for supporting student entrepreneurship, up from 37% in 2019.
  • More students are enquiring about entrepreneurship. One third of careers professionals said this comes up in at least half their interactions with students, compared to just 9% in 2019.
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) of careers professionals see enterprise and entrepreneurship as an intrinsic part of careers advice.
  • Overall levels of confidence among careers staff in delivering enterprise and entrepreneurship support are not high and appear to have stagnated since 2019, with just over half of respondents saying they are confident.

EEUK and AGCAS are proud to be working together to support this challenge through our EEUK FASTTRACK programme, so keep your eyes out for our 2024 programme – and if you cant wait that long, check out the  3E Podcast

Check out our support and activities including our VISA update and hope that we catch up in the new year – have a good break!

Just for starts?

Written by Alison Price

EEUK was invited to join the work underpinning OECD EECOLE (Entrepreneurship Education Collaboration an Engagement) to assess the role of civic universities in England and Wales.  Looking at the UK’s Civic University Network to explore innovation as a “place-responsive” concept, this work looks at the societal impact of institutions as HEIs engage in their local eco-system/communities.

This OECD work supports the work of a new initiative NCIA to generate and mobilise intelligence of what works, for whom and in what contexts; catalyse and share civic innovations; and provide universities with the framework and tools to deliver meaningful, measurable civic strategies and activities.

EEUK will be supporting and sharing the OECD work and updating you on the civic university themes as their work unfolds.

In addition, EEUK is flagging up a national consultation – ESRC’s Work, Education and Skills (WES) team are undertaking a long-range horizon-scanning exercise – which you may want to engage with at an institutional level.  This work is exploring two key research areas (below) and seeking evidence gaps from your perspective.

  • Work priority areas: a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable labour force and market
  • Education priority areas: societal impacts on education provision, educational inequalities, special educational needs and disability (SEND) provision and skills for life.

EEUK continues to work to support international students and, you, as you guide them through their visa options, and also wanted to flag a series of ebooks from SeedLegals that can help you with spin outs, funding options, and their latest guide to launching and scaling start-ups and spin-outs.

Meeting student’s needs?

Written by Alison Price

With the release of Advance HE’s new Student Needs Framework Enterprise Educators now have a new checklist to use when developing or evaluating their programmes or workshops, which is asking:

  • What do students need to optimise their individual competence, confidence, and resilience?
  • What do students need to feel a sense of belonging and community?

This framework invites you to consider how you are providing:

  • Advice and challenge on personal development
  • The methods in which you deliver specialist input
  • Access information about their course and wider university (providing context)
  • Supporting independence and gaining agency
  • Clear expectations

to build student competence, confidence, and resilience? And to consider how you are creating:

  • The chance to build community (through communal settings)
  • Meaningful peer relationships
  • Meaningful staff relationships
  • identification and affiliation with interests and institutions
  • Place and space for personal development

to support students to feel a sense of belonging and community.

But this isn’t the only way we are meeting needs. Commentary on Sept’s TEF results, which was highlighted in a special EEUK blog shows how the #EntEd agenda can support institutional results – and with the release of the latest KEF results , many tell of an improving story for KEF which can only be good news for our work. This, together with further evidence of impact, held in the IP-related and commercialisation activities in England 2021-22 report which has now been published online shows the importance of the consultation of HE-BCI, so get engaged!

And finally at IEEC2023 we explored raised the question whether we were serving our students well, given that recent reports show that students “go home to start up” and access more support online than in person. This challenge is now further illuminated with the release of data by @WONKHE that shows how students move across England.  All this adds to our understanding of our students, so we can continue to meet their needs! Keep going!

Beyond 3E, #EntEd, start-up or spin-out!

Written by Alison Price

Photo by CardMapr.nl on Unsplash

All enterprise educators know that their work can extremely tightly focused, when working with particular disciplines or sector-starts, and yet we are informed by the broader issues, which shape our learners, their future working lives, the communities in which they work, and/or sectors in which they seek to start up in.

EEUK’s policy work seeks to appreciate how these agendas impact upon our work and, in this blog, seeks to update on:

Global Skills Agenda: With the apparent ‘demise’ of the term ‘soft skills’ (as we collectively acknowledge that nothing about them is soft, squishy, mellow, or muted!) working online as heightened our understanding that interpersonal, communication and other key skills that need active support and development throughout a career. Recent changes such as hybrid working (Coursera 2023) has shown that whist, access to the internet is inevitably tied to individual economic opportunity, the learning gender gap can be closed by online learning (as seen with significant shifts in areas such as Kazakhstan, USA, Philippines, Thailand, Mexico and Spain).

International Students: With many members frustrated by the Home Office visa changes (see here for your questions, answered) it is clear, from the work of our colleagues at Tenentrepreneurs that foreign born founders build the UK’s fastest growing businesses. Their call for a Passport to Progress looks at other countries, such as Canada, China to create a blueprint for the future. EEUK welcomed this call, frustrated by the limits on test trading that are inhibiting our own graduates from starting up in the UK, looking to MPs to remove the barriers to staff and students innovating and creating UK businesses.

Knowledge Exchange: Amanda Selveratnam, University of York, shared the importance of Knowledge Exchange with delegates at IEEC2023, explaining that, whether you are in a funded role or not (Nation State Innovation funding, such as HEIF in England or the Scottish Funding Council’s University Innovation Fund (UIF)) metrics, knowledge exchange and “being part of what you want to see” is key.

Whilst the nation states may take different approaches, the underpinning need to “shout about” what you do, sharing your stories, metrics, and successes with your senior team is key.  By understanding what your institution reports on (whether under teaching, research, or knowledge exchange) you can find your place in each agenda and anchor your activity as core.  Through an appreciation of institutional drivers, you have the opportunity to explain how your #EntEd #3E work provides contributions in these key areas, and how you support the student experience, knowledge exchange and role in the wider community.

IEEC blog: The Road Continues

Written by Alison Price


Students are at the heart of what we do and why we do it, so when Dame Sally Davies declared in that the legacy of covid lockdowns “we have damaged a generation” (2023) and that “education has a terrific amount of work to do” we continue to seek to understand their experience, in order to improve our offer.

2022 saw the release of a key report that helps us understand our graduate entrepreneurs. NCUB’s insight report shows the role that universities have in start-ups, as well as providing evidence for the pull of the familiar (or potentially the lower cost accommodation options as students “go home to start up”).  This potentially challenges our understanding of student needs and invites EEUK members to question the approach/resources needed to support these returning entrepreneurs.

As has the evidence from Prospects/Luminate survey (June 2023) that rather than seeking in person careers advice,student’s “go-to” for advice is website and family/friends.  What then is the experience as enterprise educators/start up advisors? And what does this mean for our offer?

Personalised service/support can make the difference, as does shining a light on the under-represented (The Rose Progress review 2023 report) supported by monitoring to understand take up and impact – and to support this, thee is more sector-sharing on through Knowledge Exchange Concordat – check out the new resources/cases!

As the cost of living crisis as well as the impact of covid (Cosmo Study 2023) as continues to impact our students, their experience (HEPI 2023) and our way of working,  we are also looking to AI to see if the lives of our future students and graduates will be easier – or just different.

But things are clearly different for our international graduates seeking to start-up in a post Brexit UK, so when the Home Office asked if we had any questions at our online event in April, the answer was yes! (and their answers, to your questions, are here). And this month sees colleagues at the APPG Entrepreneurship suggesting an entirely new “Blueprint for the World’s Most Pro-Innovation Visa System” (Sept 2023).

But we see that Scotland is leading the agenda with a clear vision for “Innovation in Scotland” (in its Innovation Strategy) which sees the development of the “entrepreneurial campus” through a 10 step plan of recommendations, providing an institutional check list for us to challenge our progress against and making Scotland’s institutions “the ones to watch”.