Stand Alone?

In an age where more and more graduates are turning to self employment, and where start-ups are more common place, with advancements in technology making this easier than ever; should universities be doing more to inform and prepare students about the skills required to stand alone in the working world? 

Since 2006, the UK had seen a 66% rise in the number of 16-29 year olds venturing out on their own. This shift away from the more traditional route into a career, requires universities to change their teaching methods to accommodate for the trend being shown towards self employment and entrepreneurship. The Guardian Newspaper referenced research conducted by ComRes last year, which revealed that ‘only 1% of graduates who are currently self employed learnt about self employment at school or college, with only 2% learning about self-employment at university’. This research reiterating the point that there is a lack of education around entrepreneurship.

Currently, the greatest proportion of self employed graduates, lies within arts and media, with the fastest growing sector being health professionals. However, in many universities entrepreneur support is limited to their business departments, depriving students in other disciplines who may wish to take the path of self employment but are never able to learn how they can do this.   

More needs to be done to reassure students the self employment and entrepreneurship is a viable career path. Initiatives such as the International Entrepreneurship Educators Conference should help over the coming years, with redirecting universities to focus and deal with the clear gap that has been exposed in their teaching. Institutions such as Pearson Business School, have moved into this space, by introducing a variety of Degree Apprenticeships and schemes alike such as our Business management with Entrepreneurship. Schemes such as these offer the perfect balance between theory and real life experience, allowing students to apply what they learn in lectures in a real life work situation. This alongside teaching that better educates students on the different career paths available leaves students more informed to decide where they wish to take their career.  Former students including Sam Applebee have seen the success of becoming an entrepreneur, having set up his own design agency Kickpush and seen great success doing consultancy work for tech firms including Satalia.