Once upon a time, I was given some great advice. Go to IEEC, they said. It’s the friendliest conference around – fact! So I did and it was.
Join the EEUK board, they said. The team are amazing and fight to make enterprise education the best that it can be for all of us. So I did and they are.
Enjoy your year as Chair, they said. It will go fast, they said. Do some stuff that will make a difference, they said. So I did and it did and … well, the rest remains to be seen.
I’m writing this as my year as EEUK Chair draws to a close and find that I cannot avoid the cliché of ‘time has flown’. I’ve had an immensely good time and hope that we, as a board, have contributed to the enterprise education agenda during the year.
The Chair is an unusual position to hold. There is no pay for the role, no recognition within my institution and yet it remains one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. To have the opportunity to represent a body of people I feel privileged to work with has been fantastic and I thank you all for the support I’ve had.
I am very proud that this year EEUK has blossomed into an organisation that is able to run IEEC on its own, has attracted a wonderful patron who recognises the value of the work done by our members – and we have rebranded to illustrate just how far EEUK has moved on in recent years.
We have, collectively, had a louder voice in government than ever before and been able to support more grant funded research and teaching projects than ever before. There is no doubt at all in my mind that this is representative of how enterprise education is developing across the UK – it is slowly becoming embedded into governmental and institutional strategy and yet, as educators, we continue to innovate and test how best to support our students in these activities. There is still much to be done but there seems to be more of a sense now that we’re a growing band of passionate, committed and pioneering educators that won’t be kept down.
So with some reluctance, it is now my turn to hand the baton on to Jon Powell. A job made easier knowing how dedicated Jon is to EEUK and how ambitious his plans are! I am looking forward to his year as Chair.
And, of course, this is not goodbye completely… I will see you at IEEC in September!
Professor Sarah Underwood
Former Chair of Enterprise Educators UK