The focus of the Higher Education (HE) Academy's interest in the question of the employability of university graduates has shifted quite markedly in the last couple of years. Our Subject Centre, like others, has become particularly concerned to identify the characteristics of 'an enterprising graduate'. This work links with other activities of the Subject Centre, for example in Creativity and Assessment Strategies.
It is evident that the 'enterprising graduate' is often a self-employed graduate and often someone who has a portfolio of employments, and it is on these two types of graduates that our discussions will centre. That matter is of particular importance for Higher Education institutions themselves because many of these graduates include among their employments part-time or sessional academic teaching.
Most UK universities now have enterprise units which help academic staff commercialise their research expertise and assist in the creation of university spin-off companies. There is also the National Council for Graduate Enterpreneurship (NGCE) established in 2004 to raise the profile of graduate entrepreneurship. The UK government is highly committed to encouraging enterprise, and the Subject Centre works to provide humanities students with the resources needed to support enterprise.
Here be Dragons: enterprising Graduates in the Humanities
K. Croucher, J. Canning and J. Gawthorpe with R. Allan, S. Croucher and C. Ross (Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, 2007)
This report is based upon interviews with graduates from a range of humanities subjects (including History, Archaeology and Classics) who are running their own businesses or aspire to do so. The report explores how these individuals believe that their university education helped (or failed to help) them in starting and running their own business. As such it is useful to anyone seeking to identify the relationship between entrepreneurial drive and generic and discipline-specific skills, in addition to the value of Humanities degrees for employability.