“Improving the Pipeline of Enterprise Education” - the role of universities in transforming educational policy

A pioneering example of a university-based institute with an aim to transform educational policy in the UK

Lauren Davies
University of the West of England

Background and Objectives
The Aldridge Institute for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship is the first of its kind in the UK, providing a much-needed voice for enterprise education. As pioneers of change and disruptors of policy, we strongly advocate the positive value of enterprise education and the need for equal opportunity and young people equipped with future-proofed skills. The Institute is a partnership between the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE Bristol) and the Aldridge Foundation, an education charity established to change the way young people learn in the UK with an emphasis on enterprise skills.

The Aldridge Foundation was established by Sir Rod Aldridge, founder of Capita Group, a leading business process outsourcing company. The aims of the Aldridge Foundation are delivered through the charitable trust Aldridge Education via a Multi Academy Trust of 10 schools that have committed to embedding enterprising attributes. The Aldridge attributes reflect those that are needed for young people to succeed in an ever-changing employment landscape; given the challenges and opportunities posed by artificial intelligence, political uncertainty in the wake of Brexit and the increasing prevalence of portfolio careers. The attributes are: Creativity, Problem Solving, Risk Taking, Passion, Determination and Team Work.

The aim is to embed the attributes throughout teaching across the 10 Aldridge schools, thus allowing the Institute to demonstrate the impact of effective enterprise education on students’ development in order to influence national policy. The 10 Aldridge schools thus provide a test bed for educational research with the aim of embedding this best practice within other schools throughout the UK.

UWE Bristol has extensive expertise in enterprise education having established the innovative Team Entrepreneurship degree programme in 2013. As one of the first of its kind in the UK, the degree is based on the pioneering Finnish Team Academy approach in which students engage in experiential learning by forming team ventures and working on consultancy projects for local organisations.

The Institute has 3 main pillars of activity:
• To change thinking about how people learn by training educators to teach in a different way. Through the design and delivery of CPD programmes, we will ensure that school teachers, academics and leaders are equipped with the skills needed to prepare young people for enterprising futures.
• To be world renowned for practice based research in enterprise and entrepreneurship education by conducting research supported by data and metrics, and to disseminate best practice nationally and internationally by demonstrating the benefit of our innovative approaches.
• To shape education policy, using impact evidence and working with organisations such as Ofsted to inform Government and policymakers on the importance and value of enterprise and entrepreneurship and drive the creation of new education policies and teaching pedagogy across the national stage.

The recent All Party Parliamentary Group Report on Enterprise Education highlighted the need to further embed enterprise skills across the education spectrum:

“The Government should take steps to improve the pipeline of enterprise education through primary, secondary and higher education”.

The report also emphasised the importance of effective teacher training in ensuring that school students have the opportunity to develop their enterprise skills:

“The Government should recognise the need to identify and/or train enterprising teachers who have the right skills to teach school children enterprise and entrepreneurship.”

The Institute was established in the summer of 2018 and since its inception has focused on developing the CPD programmes through a collaborative and co-created approach by understanding the challenges faced by school teachers and leaders in embedding enterprise skills into learning and teaching and engendering a culture of enterprise across the school.