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A. Rationale

The development of ‘student employability’ and ‘enterprise’ have been significant for several decades as integral elements in student learning experiences. In relation to employability, universities and colleges have created a myriad of ways in which enhanced student employability is achieved and its importance is now recognised as a central element of the Teaching Excellence Framework. Similarly, the inculcation of the appropriate knowledge, skills and values in relation to entrepreneurship and enterprise has grown in importance. As a recent HEA report on enterprise education states

Graduates need the skills, capabilities and attributes to enable them to be successful in an ever-changing global economic environment. Increasingly, employers expect graduates to be innovative, adaptable, resilient, and flexible and have an enterprising mind-set. Enterprise education supports employability by enabling students to develop the characteristics, attributes and skills that will enable them to make effective contributions to the economy and society. Enterprise education clearly links to employability and as such, should be at the core of employability strategies.[1]

The Wilson review (2012) acknowledged the importance of enterprise education for students in higher education and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) has produced guidance to help those seeking to embed enterprise and entrepreneurship across the curriculum.

B. Award Summary:

This National Award will address demand for the continuing professional development of higher education staff, particularly academic staff, in supporting the development of student employability and enterprise in their working setting. It supports professional engagement with the implementation of enhanced practice in evidence informed ways, and in the presentation of the learning and outcomes from this in the form of a Portfolio for accreditation.

Intended for those who are involved in such work in post-compulsory, adult education and HE settings, the award aims to help participants to:

1. Explore the theory, concepts and practices involved in supporting students in the development and recognition of appropriate attributes and capabilities in employability and enterprise.

2. Support, coach and develop others to contribute to this important set of activities.

3. Develop and implement enhanced professional practice in supporting student employability and enterprise whether within or outside the curriculum.

4. Adopt and promote a scholarly, research- and evidence-informed approach to existing and developing practice.

5. Deal with issues they face in their role in relation to implementing enhanced practice.

6. Foster a critically reflective approach to such practice.

Specifically the Award will:

• Provide professional recognition for academic staff and for those tasked with enhancing policy and practice with regard to employability and enterprise at their institution

• Explicitly support the implementation of enhanced and new practice.

• Foster collaboration with Careers and Employability staff at institutional level.

• By providing a national cohort, facilitate learning across institutions

• By being mapped to the UKPSF, support claims for HEA recognition at appropriate levels.

The offer of the award on a national/cross-institutional basis offers major benefits in terms of:

a. Promoting sharing of issues, practices, experiences and policies between institutions to enrich the development process.

b. Allowing access to the provision for both individuals and institutional teams or groups.

C. Award Structure:

The award is predicated upon a model of professional learning and development througha cycle of reviewing, planning, monitoring, recording and evaluating enhancements in professional practice in the participants working setting. The emphasis throughout is on the reflective process of professional development.

The assessment is intended to be authentic in that is will be based on, and will draw from, a real-world enhancement or enhancements to professional practice in supporting employability and/or enterprise work with students and – as appropriate - colleagues on the part of the participant.

The assessment strategy of the award is based on a series of scaffolded requirements presented with an overarching critical and reflective commentary explaining how the portfolio content individually and collectively addresses the learning outcomes for the Award Each task will receive formative feedback from a CRA Programme Tutor or Institutional Mentor and peer support and feedback will also be actively encouraged.

The Award supports professional engagement with the implementation of enhanced practice in evidence-informed ways, and in the presentation of the learning and outcomes from this in the form of a Portfolio for accreditation. The use of a portfolio-based approach will explicitly require candidates, with support from tutors and peers, to:

1. adopt a ‘plan-do-review’ model associated with professional learning;

2. identify appropriate targets for, and undertake key tasks related to the outcomes of the Award commensurate with their own role(s);

3. report upon the outcomes of this work, making claims for accreditation supported by evidence.

4. provide, within their portfolio, an appropriate holistic narrative which draws upon the evidence presented in 1-3 above.

Within this framework there are five elements which seek to facilitate the representation of a range of practice within a common development and presentational structure as represented within the core development outcomes, specifically:

Review their current experience and evidence informed expertise in the areas covered by the Award, with reference to institutional policies and practices;

Plan: on the basis of this review, with supporting evidence, identify their professional development goals directions and priorities and plan to work on these within the timeframe of the award;

Do: undertaken the development activities specified, whilst allowing for unanticipated learning from contexts which may not have been recognised in the plan;

Review: their development/practice and the relationship between these;

Present: a final portfolio which demonstrates how they have met the core and specialist outcomes of the award.


Tibby and Owen (eds) Enhancing employability through enterprise education: Examples of good practice in higher education HEA November 2014

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