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October 12, 2018

Placement Year Entrepreneurship Scheme: a case study











Sheffield Hallam, like other UK universities, is keen to demonstrate to prospective students and the public how they embed employability in their courses.

The Employability and Enterprise Advisors (non-academics) work with Department Employability Leads (academic staff) to ensure students are supported in the considering their post university lives.  In the Department of Media Arts and Communications, where courses include the opportunity to undertake a placement year, an increasing number are applying to undertake a year as their own ‘boss’.

Developing employability skills is particularly important as self-employment is growing how can we as teachers develop the relevant skills and knowledge? In 2001 12% of the UK labour force was self-employed. By 2017 this rose to 15%. Self-employment is seen as the key area for employment expansion, particularly for graduates and those in the age group 16 to 24, and for part-time self-employment. (Wain Yuen, Sunny Sidhu, Gueorguie Vassilevet al. (2018). consequently, this has led to a set of questions to identify  what has encouraged students to apply to PYES in order to ensure that the right set of skills are being developed.

The profile of students who apply for the Placement Year Entrepreneurship Scheme at SHU shows that applicants are more likely to come from creative or computing courses. Using undergraduates from BA Games as a case study, this session questions why these students appeared more interested than their peers in undertaking self-employment, and reflects more widely on how their experiences might impact on teaching and learning on courses.

Key questions being considered include:

  • Did students apply because they already knew people who were self-employed?
  • For these students is enterprise the main entry route to employment?
  • What do these students ‘bring back’ to the university in terms of what they have learnt from being self-employed?
  • What are the key points for where learning and teaching can embedding entrepreneurship education without detracting from the core subject context?
Student Outcomes
  • To report the experience of students
  • To reflect on ways in which learning and teaching needs to integrate notions of self-employment
Ghulam Nabi, Andreas Walmsley, Francisco Liñán, Imran Akhtar & Charles Neame (2016)
Does entrepreneurship education in the first year of higher education develop entrepreneurial intentions?The role of learning and inspiration, Studies in Higher Education, 43:3, 452-467, DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2016.1177716 Heidi M.Neck and Andrew C. Corbett The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy 2018 Vol 1(1) 8-41 Sage