Large, diverse cohort of students attending a workshop. Small group featured in foreground.

 Enterprise Education: why, how, what?

As higher educators, "we are trying to tackle the ‘wicked’ problem of preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist, using technologies that have not yet been invented, in order to solve problems that we don't know are problems yet" (Jackson 2008).

To face this challenge, we need our students and graduates to be enterprising: able to spot and respond to opportunities by having ideas, and the skills and confidence to do something about them. Enterprise education develops your students’ capability to succeed in being enquiring, deep learners, and contributes to making them successful Sheffield Graduates, equipped to face the challenges of their future careers.

"Enterprise Education is an excellent tool to prepare students for changing environments. It provides enhanced impact through placements and activities that build links between academic institutions and external organisations.[...]It provides competencies to lead a rewarding, self-determined professional life."

QAA Guidance on enterprise and entrepreneurship education (2018)

The University of Sheffield defines five enterprise capabilities that all students should develop through their studies:

  • Authentic Problem Solving – identifying, defining, and finding solutions to real-world problems, applying strategic thinking and analysis and taking account of constraints.
  • Innovation and Creativity – generating and testing ideas through an iterative process, thinking critically and creatively to overcome barriers and challenges.
  • Risk-taking – anticipating outcomes and taking measured risks, sometimes making decisions in the absence of complete information.
  • Taking Action – using initiative and demonstrating leadership skills, whilst taking responsibility and being accountable for actions and outcomes.
  • True Collaboration – working together and independently to meet a goal or achieve an objective, using different methods of communication and connecting with external organisation, bodies and groups.

To find out more about how you can embed these capabilities in your curriculum, contact the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Team, or take a look at the Enterprise Education Online Resource Bank (ORB).

Case studies on how to embed enterprise in the curriculum are available at the 'Embed Enterprise' blog.

Take a look