Colleges in the entrepreneurial economy: A review of enterprise provision in FE

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1 Colleges in the entrepreneurial economy: A review of enterprise provision in FE was commissioned to conduct this research by the Department for Education-funded Enterprise Network which is managed by the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and includes a consortium of partners. Two of these partners are the AoC and the 57 Group, who lead on the Further Education aspects of the programme. Together these partners have planned a number of initiatives to support the development of enterprise within FE, such as: Regional training workshops for college staff, led by sector professionals with enterprise expertise, in order to disseminate good and innovative practice and build capacity Provision of individually tailored support through sector enterprise consultants. Many thanks to Hannah Carnell, Elena di Antonio, Jonathan Oldershaw and Silviya Barrett for their contributions to this work. The enterprise network is supported by: An entrepreneurial organisation Preparing communities for an entrepreneurial economy The enterprising college Equipping learners with enterprising skills & mindsets This research was commissioned by:

2 Introduction Headline findings *Findings are based on a survey of 46 colleges across the Further Education sector in England. At the start of, as the UK emerges from a recession, entrepreneurship is attracting increasing attention as a way to rebuild economies and stimulate growth. The Coalition Government has set an ambition for this to be the most entrepreneurial decade ever....overall, there are many signs for optimism reflecting that Further Education has long been a natural incubator for enterprise... This research attempts to shed light on the relatively under-researched area of enterprise and entrepreneurship provision in FE colleges in England. Further Education Colleges train over 4 million people every year, so have a critical role in creating a more enterprising UK - equipping people with the enterprise confidence and skills to be successful in their working lives. By enterprise we refer to the development of skills such as creativity, problem-solving and risk-taking. By entrepreneurship we refer to people who start and grow innovative businesses. By entrepreneurial we refer more generally to a set of capabilities that investigates new solutions to problems and generating revenue - be it within a college, business or community setting. Overall, there are many signs for optimism reflecting that Further Education has long been a natural incubator for enterprise; that many courses prepare learners for self-employment; that many lecturers have entrepreneurial experience and that the sector itself has always been entrepreneurial in adapting to funding pressures and policy changes. However, this research also highlights areas for improvement including the support that is provided by colleges to their local business and entrepreneurs. In addition, there is room for development in the sector to better articulate its role in contributing to economic growth in the UK. This research concludes that enterprising colleges are places that effectively combine being an entrepreneurial organisation with a clear strategic focus on enterprise; a focus on equipping learners with enterprising skills and mindsets; and an appetite for preparing local communities for success in an entrepreneurial economy. was commissioned to conduct this research by a consortium of partners including the Association of Colleges, the 57 Group and the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust as part of the Department for Education-funded Enterprise Network. This is a summary of a longer report, which aims to help identify good practice and stimulate more enterprise activity in the sector. Peter Grigg Head of Policy & Research, Overall the research demonstrated there is a great appetite for enterprise across the further education sector. Despite anticipated cuts to college budgets, 2% of respondents think that they will increase enterprise provision over the next two years. However, analysis suggests that positive attitudes towards enterprise are not always backed up by actions....positive attitudes towards enterprise are not always backed up by actions within colleges... Creating entrepreneurial organisations 3% of colleges thought the sector needs to become more entrepreneurial. Yet only 43% have a written policy on enterprise and only 5% have an individual in charge of enterprise Learners - equipped with enterprise skills % of colleges think that students should be increasingly equipped with entrepreneurial skills and mindsets. Yet 55% of colleges say that only one in five of their learners accesses some form of enterprise education Communities - supported for entrepreneurial success 2% of colleges believe enterprise education should help build links with the local community. Yet just 34% see colleges as a hub for local entrepreneurs and just 2% offer incubation space for businesses 3 % % 2 %

3 Colleges - creating entrepreneurial organisations The national survey explored the extent to which colleges focus on enterprise, have a coherent strategy and the degree to which it is embedded in the college s mission and culture. What is driving enterprise strategy? The vast majority of colleges say that their Senior Management Team (SMT) is supportive of enterprise: nearly nine in ten colleges (%) agree, with 42% of colleges strongly agreeing with the statement. Survey results confirm that the more the SMT is committed to enterprise, the more likely the college is to have other elements in place (e.g. a written policy, enterprise in the college mission, one individual in charge of the strategy). 5% of the colleges have an individual with the overall responsibility for enterprise and 43% have a written policy on enterprise. Being an entrepreneurial organisation was seen as essential to bringing in income by colleges. Other motivations cited included staff engagement and loyalty, retention of key staff and driving up innovation....there is little support offered to staff interested in starting up a business... Supporting staff to be more enterprising Just 6% of colleges have embedded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) opportunities for teaching staff in relation to enterprise education. % of colleges say that they have offered CPD but that this is not embedded. 5% of colleges support staff development through the formalised exchange of good practice with schools and universities, whereas only 4% do this formally with other colleges. There is little support offered to staff interested in starting up a business; 62% of colleges do not provide their staff with relevant support and only 4% of colleges are planning to develop this in the future. Students increasingly need to be equipped with enterprising mindsets and enterprise skills The college sector needs to become more entrepreneurial Strongly Agree Agree Neither Disagree CPD and training in enterprise education Formalised exchange of good practice with schools / universities / HE Yes this is embedded This has been provided but not embedded This has not been provided for, but we are planning to Strongly disagree Not provided Enterprise and entrepreneurship does feature highly in my college Formalised exchange of good practice with other colleges My college is an entrepreneurial place Support for staff setting up / running their own business Figure : Enterprise strategy To what extent do you agree with the following statements? Figure 2: Which of the following opportunities are provided to teaching staff by your college?

4 Learners - equipped with enterprising skills and mindsets Enterprise provision Enterprise across the curriculum % of colleges think that students should be increasingly equipped with entrepreneurial skills and mindsets and are offering a wide range of enterprise activities in order to do this Business competitions Opportunities to run a real business on campus Enterprise awareness events Presentations by entrpreneurial role models and speakers Work experience opportunities specifically with entrpreneurs Advice on business start-up or selfemployment Networking opportunities The majority of enterprise provision is offered on an ad-hoc basis rather than embedded as a core part of the college offer. The exceptions to this are business competitions, such as Dragon s Den-style pitching, and opportunities to run a business on campus both of which are more likely to be embedded as part of the college s offer Supporting business start-ups appears to be less of a focus for colleges both in terms of advice (35% provide this as part of their offer) and practical support (7%). However, over a quarter of colleges (%) are looking to provide practical support for business start-up in the future. Yes this is embedded as part of our offer This has been provided but not embedded This has not been provided for, but we are planning to Not provided...only a small proportion of colleges provide stand-alone qualifications for enterprise or entrepreneurship... Enterprise skills are taught within a range of curriculum areas. Business, Retail, Agriculture and Leisure, Travel and Tourism are the most likely to receive planned enterprise opportunities. There are less likely to be opportunities for students of subjects such as History, Languages, Social Sciences and Family Learning. Colleges are more likely to provide credit bearing units for enterprise rather than stand-alone qualifications. This distinction is particularly true at Level 3, where 37% of colleges provide credit-bearing units compared to 6% of colleges offering stand-alone level 3 enterprise qualifications. Only a very small proportion of colleges provide qualifications for Level 4 and 5, both in terms of stand-alone qualifications and credit-bearing units. Enterprising college businesses Sports events business Sports students in one college are working with local school children to provide activity days (such as mountain biking and rock climbing). These events are supervised by college staff, but are organised, managed and delivered by learners. With the withdrawal of EMAs, the profits help pay for the cost of their coaching qualifications. Problem-solving for local businesses One college has a scheme working with local employers on specific business briefs, such as testing products, researching new markets and developing new business opportunities. Enhancing employability Student-led enterprise societies / enterprise students councils Practical support for business start-up Figure 3: Which of the following elements of activity are provided to learners who encounter enterprise or entrepreneurship activity at your college? Student-led restaurants, salons and auto-vehicle maintenance businesses provide an excellent opportunity for students to experience real-life experiences of working in a business. Many of these businesses are open outside of college hours to the general public providing colleges with additional income generation opportunities. Many colleges are using enterprise projects to enhance employability skills among students with special educational needs. These include selling fruit and veg boxes, florists, and greeting cards companies. One college is planning a town centre outlet to sell produce from the projects.

5 Communities - supported for success in an entrepreneurial economy Looking ahead Enhancing provision 6% of colleges say they work with entrepreneurs, 47% with private companies and 34% say they work with their Local Enterprise Partnership. Hosting entrepreneurial events College staff sit on a local enterprise steering group Business start-up taster courses Business advisory services or training to entrepreneurs Incubation space and hot -desking for local entrepreneurs Access to finance for business start-ups A specialist business centre for female, ethnic minority, or social enterprise Colleges are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders, across the private, public and third sectors in relation to enterprise education. This brings with it a number of benefits for colleges in terms of income, providing opportunities for students and shared learning. Many of the colleges visited regard the closure of Regional Development Agencies (RDA) and Business Link services as potentially opening up strategic opportunities for their college as an entrepreneurial hub in the local community. However, the proportion of colleges currently providing business support services is low. One in ten colleges (0%) provide incubation spaces, 7% provide access to finance for business start-ups, and 4% provide business start-up courses. The majority of colleges (2%) are not currently providing any services targeted specifically at supporting social enterprises, female or ethnic minority entrepreneurs. Yes this is embedded as part of our offer This has been provided but not embedded This has not been provided before but we are planning to in the future Not provided Increased budget for enterprise education More strategic alignment and consistency More demand for enterprise education from the students More flexibility for teachers to adapt the curriculum More sharing of best practice More good-quality enterprise education materials More CPD for teaching staff More consistent definitions of enterprise Increased emphasis on enterprise education within the college strategy More support and guidance from When colleges were asked what would help support more enterprise activity?, increased budget, more strategic alignment, and more demand from students came top % of respondents thought that enterprise or entrepreneurship activities would increase greatly over the next two years, with a further 5% believing they would increase to some extent. To a great extent To some extent Not at all Figure 4: Does your college provide any of the following for the local community? Figure 5: To what extent would each of the following help your college achieve more in the delivery of enterprise education?

6 Recommendations *Based on survey findings, college site visits and interviews held as part of this research...staff-led ventures present exciting opportunities for developing income, staff motivation and enhancing the work-readiness of students... Colleges - creating entrepreneurial organisations There is increasing recognition of the need for colleges to develop entrepreneurial responses to the current economic climate. The majority of colleges are working to create entrepreneurial places, but there is more that could be done. 0 Responsibility for driving an enterprising culture is increasingly featuring in the role of Principals and SMT. Leadership development and CPD around entrepreneurship should be further developed in conjunction with experienced entrepreneurs where possible. 02 Colleges should consider either recruiting more entrepreneurs as governors or enhancing the awareness of enterprise and entrepreneurship among existing governors for example through training or briefing sessions. 03 Staff-led ventures are a relatively unknown quantity across the sector at the moment but present exciting opportunities for developing income, staff motivation, and enhancing the work-readiness of students. Guidance could be developed to support those colleges wishing to pursue staffowned/led businesses within the college. 04 There is a lack of research on enterprise provision in FE. Building on this research, sector representative bodies and government should commit to an annual review of enterprise provision in FE. 05 Government should support the scaling up of successful college enterprise initiatives and dissemination of effective approaches. Dialogue with the sector representative bodies, including the AoC and the 57 Group would clarify the most appropriate mechanism to facilitate this. Learners - equipped with enterprising skills and mindsets There remains a yawning gap between the number of people thinking about starting their own enterprise and those who do. The further education sector is in a unique position to convert enterprising attitudes into entrepreneurial behaviour through enterprise teaching and learning. 06 Sector representative bodies should support the sector by promoting networking and the sharing of good practice. This could include the development of existing databases such as the Enterprise Village and the Excellence Gateway and the adaptation of existing teaching and learning award schemes (such as the AoC Beacon Awards) 07 Colleges should stimulate demand for enterprise among students by creating the space and opportunities for local entrepreneurs to work on campus in business start-up space or as ambassadors. The creation of a National Enterprise Ambassador programme would support a more systematic use of entrepreneurial role models in colleges. 0 Opportunities should be enhanced for teachers and lecturers to become more familiar with the world of entrepreneurs, current industry practice and the practicalities of business start-up. 0 Colleges should utilise learner destination data as a way to better understand how many students go on to self-employment, and to improve their evaluation of the impact of enterprise programmes. 0 Although Social Enterprise is of great interest to young people, this aspect of enterprise received little emphasis or focus in the colleges visited. Support could be provided to raise awareness of developments in social enterprise. Communities - supported for success in an entrepreneurial economy Colleges are well placed to serve entrepreneurs and catalyse enterprising communities, but although colleges do contribute to their local economy, there is further scope for the sector to demonstrate its role in driving entrepreneurship and economic growth. The infrastructure of the enterprise support landscape is changing dramatically, providing opportunities for colleges to more vocally articulate their role in the context of economic growth both nationally at a policy level and locally in the development of business support and advice to entrepreneurs. 2 Colleges should be encouraged and supported by government and sector representative bodies to perform a stronger role in relation to Local Enterprise Partnerships. 3 There is room for exploration of whether colleges could perform an investor function in student-led businesses through either microfinance or angel investment. This could be jointly explored by leading enterprise colleges. 4 Colleges should emphasise a focus on innovative entrepreneurship and encourage the importance of avoiding creating businesses that merely duplicate existing businesses in a local area. 5 Colleges traditional expertise in building social capital is not currently reflected in the provision of business support services for those under-represented in entrepreneurship for example females and ethnic minority groups. Colleges should develop specific offers to these groups including networking and enterprise awareness events.

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