“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.