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A tale of two universities: graduates perceived value of entrepreneurship education

Paul Jones (International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
David Pickernell (School of Business, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Rebecca Fisher (International Centre for Transformational Entrepreneurship, Coventry University, Coventry, UK)
Celia Netana (Faculty of Business and Society, University of South Wales, Pontypridd, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 14 August 2017

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1218

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate career impact of entrepreneurship education (EE) considering evidence drawn from a quantitative study of alumni within two UK higher education institutions (HEIs) from a retrospective perspective. The findings inform the value of the EE experience and its impact on both self-employability and wider employability career choices. This study will be of relevance to both enterprise support agencies and government policy makers.

Design/methodology/approach

This research study considers evidence drawn from an online quantitative survey of EE within two UK HEIs. The survey evaluated a range of issues including course design, programme satisfaction, impact, career outcomes and respondents demographics. Over 80 respondents completed the survey in full which was analysed using a range of bivariate techniques.

Findings

The evidence suggested here indicates that EE programmes provide value both in terms of helping to enable business start-ups and also in supporting other career paths, through the enterprising knowledge and skill sets graduates acquire during their specialised studies. This study contributes to the literature by recognising and measuring these contributions. For example, this study enables discernment between different EE course components and their value for different career outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The study recognises the limitations of this survey data in terms of the size of the sample, number of HEIs evaluated and its point in time design.

Practical implications

The HEI sector must evaluate its practices and measure the effectiveness of its graduates in terms of achieving sustainable business start-up. In course design, the evidence suggested that students value both the enterprising and entrepreneurial skills and knowledge components and discern value between them in their later careers. The findings suggest that EE graduates typically experience portfolio careers with multiple occupations in different sectors and roles within both employment and self-employment. Thus it is important that EE programme design includes both enterprising and entrepreneurial components to meet the future requirements of their graduates postgraduation.

Originality/value

This study contributes new evidence regarding the value of EE in UK HEIs. This evidence should inform course design and policy makers regarding the value of EE in creating self-employment and creating enterprising employees.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the Entrepreneur Educators UK for funding this study.

Citation

Jones, P., Pickernell, D., Fisher, R. and Netana, C. (2017), "A tale of two universities: graduates perceived value of entrepreneurship education", Education + Training, Vol. 59 No. 7/8, pp. 689-705. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-06-2017-0079

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited