Solving Wicked Problems: How to embed enterprise, entrepreneurship and sustainability education for excellent graduate employability outcomes

9:30 am - 4:15 pm 12/10/2022

The Council Chamber, The Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford, M5 4WD


Wednesday, 12th October, 9.30am – 4.15pm

The Council Chamber, The Old Fire Station, Crescent, Salford, M5 4WD (travel information)


This event, hosted by the University of Salford, took participants on a journey of exploration deep inside the increasingly complex employability debates in higher education, by unpicking some current best practice and helping shape institutions vision of enterprise education. In addition to a range of exciting expert speakers we showcased how the University of Salford have begun shaping our employability agenda by drawing on and importing the expertise of an interdisciplinary and inspirational network of entrepreneurs, mentors and Industry Fellows straight into the classroom. Our strategy has started to bear fruit and we have spawned innovative thinking in the classroom by focusing on enterprise skills, culminating this year in our student ‘Hear n Protect’ team winning the regional Young Enterprise competition this year.

Our speakers will help participants start the process of solving some of the ‘wicked problems’ through interactive discussions and workshops including:

  • Wicked Problems: New and sustainable opportunities for learning approaches in enterprise education – Dr Andy Penaluna (Emeritus Professor, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David) & Professor Jon Fairburn, (Professor of Sustainability, Staffordshire University)
  • Employability and enterprise from a career’s perspective – Dr Emily Beaumont (President of EEUK)
  • Solving problems in enterprise education: Serious Lego session
  • From classroom to boardroom – Hear n Protect, winners of 2022 Young Enterprise UK – Dr Jonathan Owens and the Hear and Protect team

We welcome collaboration with colleagues from across the sector and others who are interested in enterprise education, entrepreneurship, sustainability, and graduate employability. At the University of Salford, in the true spirit of entrepreneurship, we believe that we can learn a lot by failing, and we recognise that the sector is still learning how best to navigate the employability and enterprise landscape.  Therefore, we actively encourage discussion around initiatives that have failed as well as celebrating those that succeed.

Delegates will have the opportunity to:

  • Understand how enterprise education supports employability of graduates
  • Learn how to use Serious Lego to solve problems
  • Learn how to embed enterprise and sustainability into multidisciplinary areas
  • Hear about best practice enterprise and entrepreneurship education from Salford Business School support
  • Reflect on current practice and gain new insight
  • Network and explore further opportunities to work together and continue the conversation

Target Audience:

  • New and existing enterprise educators working in Higher Education
  • Anyone with an interest in student employability

Speakers (slides will be uploaded here shortly)

  • Dr Emily Beaumont, President EEUK (slides)
  • Dr Andy Penaluna, Emeritus Professor, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
  • Professor Jon Fairburn, Professor of Sustainability, Staffordshire University
  • Dr Jonathan Owens, Lecturer & Programme Leader, Salford Business School


09.30 Keynote & Welcome

Dr Emily Beaumont (President of EEUK)

‘One for all and all for one’: The 3Es (Employability, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship)

The Wicked Problem; Employability, enterprise, and entrepreneurship (commonly referred to as the 3Es) are frequently addressed ‘as distinct, if not mutually exclusive concepts’ (Dean, 2010:21), existing in silos.  In the past 30 years, HE has experienced an employability agenda that has advanced both in terms of knowledge and understanding, but also in significance, making employability a priority for Universities (Quinlan and Renninger, 2002).  At the same time, there has been a global increase in the provision of enterprise and entrepreneurship in HE (Bae et al., 2014; Nabi et al.,2017) and yet it has failed to match the magnitude of the employability agenda.  This session intends to explore this wicked problem and consider potential ‘work arounds’ in an environment where a solution seems unachievable.

Click here for slides.

10.20 Break


10.30 Dr Andy Penaluna (Emeritus Professor, University of Wales, Trinity Saint David) & Professor Jon Fairburn (Professor of Sustainability (Staffordshire University)

Wicked Problems: New and sustainable opportunities for learning approaches in enterprise education

This session will enable delegates to seek out new opportunities within their own context, devise learning approaches that embrace being enterprising in a sustainable way and offer insights into how learning can be mapped. It will be aligned to the new ETC Toolkit’s Guidance on using EntreComp and GreenComp, and responds to QAA’s new directive that all Subject Benchmark Statement need to specify how Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and Education for Sustainable Development are embraced in their disciplinary area.

Click here for slides

12.00 Lunch


13.15 Dr Jonathan Owens (Lecturer & Programme Leader, Salford Business School)

Enterprise education at work in higher education

In this session we will hear from our Young Enterprise regional award-winning student team Hear ‘n’ Protect & alumni of our student incubator.

Click here for slides

14.15 Break


14.25 Embedding enterprise and sustainability in action using Serious Lego: A highly interactive and exciting session demonstrating how educators can use Serious Lego to bring innovation into the classroom.

Click here for slides


16.05 Dr Francine Morris (Associate Dean Enterprise and Engagement, Salford Business School)

Closing comments

16.15 Close


Attendee details

Bookings are closed for this event.