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Celebrating Innovation – transforming the 'Employability, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship' landscape

03 Jan 2024 | Professor Kathryn Penaluna Ahead of the publication Unpacking the 3Es – a national perspective, commissioned by HEFCW, Professor Kathryn Penaluna shares how the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development team at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is transforming the 'Employability, Enterprise, and Entrepreneurship' landscape amid economic uncertainty.

The imperative for change

In an era defined by unprecedented economic challenges, most notably the Covid-19 pandemic, the role of educational institutions in moulding resilient, adaptable, and innovative leaders has never been more vital. Amid economic upheavals and a volatile job market, there's an urgent call for an educational approach that goes beyond the conventional. Answering this call is the team at the International Institute for Creative Entrepreneurial Development (IICED) and Carmarthen Business School (CBS) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD). They have designed and piloted a transformative online Postgraduate Certificate (PgCert) in Enterprise. However, this is no mere reaction to current market trends; it's a proactive strategy. The curriculum serves as a catalyst, meticulously designed to align with the evolving needs of both the job market and the entrepreneurial sphere, thus shaping the future of work and business.

A revolutionary approach to the 3 Es: More than just a curriculum

IICED’s PgCert in Enterprise Skills is far from your typical academic programme. It's the result of a deep-rooted commitment to innovation and quality in entrepreneurial education. The programme's unique blend of traditional business acumen and entrepreneurial flair is not accidental; it's shaped by IICED's pioneering role in policymaking, both nationally and globally. The institute's credentials are impressive: the first director of IICED chaired the team that helped craft the Quality Assurance Agency guidance on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education, influencing educational standards beyond just Europe. This sets the stage for a curriculum that is not just exemplary but also impactful, designed to meet quality guidelines and frameworks such as those from Advance HE.

Furthermore, IICED's global contributions have given it a nuanced understanding that enriches its educational interventions. For example, its role in crafting the European Entrepreneurship Competence Framework, EntreComp, is part of a broader portfolio of influencing policy and practice around the world. So, students enrolling in the PgCert in Enterprise Skills aren't just receiving an education; they're joining a programme that is a byproduct of thought leadership and policy influence that spans continents, not just countries. Consequently, the PgCert in Enterprise Skills is an intricately designed educational experience built on the EntreComp 15-petal model. This structure translates into 15 units spread across three 20-credit modules, each reflecting a petal of the EntreComp flower design. Every unit is meticulously crafted to provide not just theoretical knowledge, but also practical approaches to teaching, learning, and assessment, thereby enhancing competency development in real terms.

AI-driven innovation: The future is now

The PgCert in Enterprise Skills isn't just another course; it's an educational ecosystem designed for the future. At the heart of this forward-thinking approach is an Artificial Intelligence System (AIS) that serves as an intelligent digital teaching assistant. Available in both Welsh and English, the AIS employs advanced machine learning algorithms to offer personalised educational experiences, thus enriching the students' learning paths and aiding them in overcoming various challenges. Furthermore, the programme leverages a chatbot app that allows students to train a chatbot by developing questions and answers aligned with their studies. The GPT-3 chatbot act as an AI-powered teaching assistant to facilitate idea generation, encourage innovative thinking, and encourage improved risk-taking propensity This creates a co-curated database of information, encouraging ongoing interaction and enabling students to tailor the chatbot's responses according to their individual needs.

But the technology isn't just for show; it's integrated into a curriculum designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset. The program uses authentic assessment methods that require students to create tangible documentation for real-world projects or enterprises. This doesn't just test knowledge; it prepares students for the challenges they will face in their entrepreneurial journeys.

Impact and Outcomes: A Vision Realised

The course is engineered for multi-faceted impact, designed not only to foster an entrepreneurial mindset but also to enhance employability through a comprehensive set of transferable skills. Real-world assessments keep the learning authentic and relevant. Moreover, AI-supported ideation processes augment students' capabilities without sacrificing critical and creative thinking. The challenge was embedding employability into the programme without diluting its entrepreneurial focus. To successfully navigate this, the programme sets forth several specific aims and objectives:

  • Cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset in students
  • Employ authentic, real-world assessment strategies
  • Focus on enhancing employability through transferable skills
  • Foster AI-supported ideation and innovation
  • Preserve the essence of critical and creative thinking while amplifying capabilities.

Conclusion: An unprecedented educational model for an uncertain world

While perspectives differ, there is a growing consensus around the need for curricula that go beyond traditional textbook learning to instil innovation and adaptability in students. This is precisely the niche that IICED's PgCert in Enterprise Skills fills. With its AI-powered tools designed to facilitate idea generation and encourage innovative thinking, the programme underpinned by the QAA assured EntreComp Framework also offers a suite of transferable skills that are highly valued across various industries.

Enrolling in the PgCert in Enterprise Skills is more than an academic commitment; it's a gateway into a learning environment that combines technological innovation with real-world application. This comprehensive approach aims to arm students with the skills needed to navigate the uncertain entrepreneurial landscape that lies ahead.

Questions and challenges: What lies ahead for Entrepreneurial Education?

As we move further into the 21st century, several pressing questions arise about the future of entrepreneurial education:

  • How can educational institutions adapt to the rapidly changing entrepreneurial landscape?
  • Can AI and other emerging technologies be effectively integrated into curricula to better prepare students for the future?
  • How do we balance the need for employability skills with the importance of fostering an entrepreneurial mindset?

IICED's PgCert in Enterprise Skills doesn't just pose these questions; it answers them. By integrating AI-powered tools like the GPT-3 chatbot and focusing on real-world assessments, the programme is already ahead of the curve. It not only equips students with transferable skills but also fosters an entrepreneurial mindset, making it a forward-thinking solution to the challenges that lie ahead in entrepreneurial education.

'Unpacking the 3Es – a national perspective', a Case Study Series commissioned by HEFCW 2023 and edited by Stuart Norton and Andy Penaluna is published on 10 January 2024.

You can read a blog by another contributor, Zdravka Kamenova, Careers Consultancy Services Manager at Swansea Employability Academy, Swansea University here.

Find out more about Advance HE's work in Employability, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education



Employability Symposium 2024: Distilling The 3Es: ‘What works – and what doesn’t’ 

This event on 25 April will provide a space to discuss and share latest practices in embedding employability among a network of peers. Find out more.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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