Putting students first

Written by Alison Price

With the pandemic impacting on every aspect of life, two new reports were released last week that both recognise the disproportionate impact on female founders/businesses and seek to inspire sustainable and resilient approach to building back.

The “Resilience and Recovery” report from Tenpreneurs recognised the dual blow for female businesses; where “women have often had to take on greater childcare or unpaid work burdens during lockdown, which will have impacted female entrepreneurs” whilst “women are more likely to start businesses in sectors which have been worse affected by the pandemic” such as hospitality and service industries. Together with the acknowledged pre-existing systemic barriers, such as access to finance, this new report recognises the need to address inequalities and, in doing so, supports the vision heralded by The Women’s Organisation for Liverpool City Region in their call to embed inclusivity, diversity, and gender equality as we ‘build back better’.  Promoting a model of ‘doing things differently’, The Women’s Organisation make recommendations for their city on the green economy, social enterprise, and skills.  This vision may be something to explore within your own institutional approach, as we know that EEUK Associates recognise their role in securing economic and social value in this pandemic. Our most recent survey shows a clear excitement “to support the development of students, graduates and businesses when they need it most” (58% of respondents).

Over 70% were hopeful of a new approach that will develop the needs and work-life balance of staff and students alike, but primarily it is student experience that is of most concern.  Nearly 70% expressed fears for the students, recognising limitations of online delivery in achieving the full range of outputs and experiences. However, the benefit of a network such as EEUK is the readiness to share, providing support to others and deepening our online practice.  EEUK’s most recent events such as IEECOnline and the EntEdOnline webinar showcased new approaches and identified good practice (check out EEUK Associate’s top tips in our EntEdOnline resource hub for some of the unexpected benefits of delivering #EntEdOnline).

Understanding and amplifying the priorities and concerns of enterprise educators has always been the focus of EEUK’s policy work.  This year, EEUK recognised that the traditional challenges of the ‘day job’ would be greater and sought views in this survey (and now by email) to support you.  You have already identified the need (over 20%) to help you stay up to date through this wide ranging and significant time of change through practical explanation of new policy and frameworks and are also seeking support to ensure ‘buy-in’ for the #ented agenda; with over 60% specifically wanting support in engaging senior management with the agenda and the impact of their work. These Associate requests will continue to be the focus of our work and member events – so keep asking and sharing, as working at home need not mean working alone.

Alison Price

Head of Policy and Professional Practice, EEUK