University puts innovation on the curriculum

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With so many businesses being forced to pivot their operations to compete in changing markets, one university has followed suit – aiming to produce a new generation of post-Covid entrepreneurs.

The University of Buckingham’s Enterprise and Innovation Unit has moved with the times to launch a new MSc in Applied Enterprise and Innovation after their own academics identified a vital skills gap.

Backed by the polling giant YouGov, researchers discovered only a quarter of the Generation Z workforce had received any education, career advice or extracurricular activities relating to entrepreneurialism.

That followed an earlier Survation poll which found only 13 per cent of graduates were considered by employers as “ready to hit the ground running”, a worrying sign given the challenges industry faces.

The unit’s director, Professor Nigel Adams said the aim was to produce employable graduates. “‘We want to give students the chance to go a step further in building the skills that employers are looking for,” he said

The pandemic has meant that many of us are looking to expand our skills or change the direction of our careers

“The course will explore the competencies that 81 per cent of UK businesses consider to be the most important to succeed in the commercial world, such as understanding that world, creativity, planning, selling and leadership.

“The pandemic has meant that many of us are looking to expand our skills or change the direction of our careers. This course will help anyone looking to make a leap into a new area through providing them with transferable, sought after skills.’

As well as researching and studying the sort of academic theories and models expected from the country’s oldest private university, students on the new MSc in Applied Enterprise and Innovation will also work on real, practical projects with local and regional companies.

Entrepreneurs finding opportunity in Covid

Current student Aisha Nwankwo from Milton Keynes plans to stay on for further study. “Finishing a degree in the current climate has made me recognise that to help me stand out, I should take some extra steps. I would rather do a master’s degree designed to make me more employable and start my career on the right path than leave it to chance.”

Richard Harrington, CEO of Buckinghamshire Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Buckinghamshire is renowned as the entrepreneurial heart of England and this new programme is exactly the type of initiative we want to see develop to support the next generation of entrepreneurs to help lead future economic growth”

The programme begins in January. Details here