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Developing Enterprise Skills in Art and Design HE: Case Study

Graduates need the skills, capabilities and attributes to enable them to be successful in an ever changing global economic environment. Increasingly, employers expect graduates to be innovative, adaptable, resilient, and flexible and have an enterprising mind-set. Enterprise education supports employability by enabling students to develop the characteristics, attributes and skills that will enable them to make effective contributions to the economy and society. Enterprise education clearly links to employability and as such, should be at the core of employability strategies. 

Enhancing employability through enterprise education:
Examples of good practice in higher education

Certificate Fashion & Lifestyle Journalism, London College of Fashion

“The very nature of the fashion and lifestyle journalism industry means that many students will work as freelancers and therefore need entrepreneurial skills and from the outset, students are urged to get their work published and engage in placements where possible.” (Nilgin Yusuf, programme director for Media and Communication in the Graduate School)

Students are encouraged to develop an enterprising mindset and use their initiative to engage in the world of journalism and discover new market potential. Industry speakers contribute throughout the course to develop confidence and professionalism. The short boot camp nature of the course invites a range of ages and backgrounds, creating a diverse student body.

The assessment is holistic; a body of well-researched and appropriate editorial material is produced for a specific area of fashion or lifestyle journalism, alongside a 2,000-word research report. Students need to produce an original idea, but one that can add value to an existing market place. Learning outcomes are met through a technical and analytical approach, integration of qualitative and quantitative research and the contextualisation of critical evaluation and successful creation of a final product (blog, website or magazine).

The major project teaches students that to be “employable” is to recognise the need to contribute new and innovative ideas to a market, not to create a new model entirely that may be unrealistic or unachievable upon graduation. Research, analysis and subject knowledge are weighted with four learning outcomes attached to them, and communication/ presentation and Personal Professional Development (PPD) are weighted with two learning outcomes attached.

Peer presentations and individualised industry feedback are integral to the unit, which offer students the opportunity to reflect and analyse diverse markets. Students are offered the choice of creating a supplement based on an event, emerging market or relevant theme, professional or journalistic blog, or creation of a fanzine, culminating into a portfolio.

Contribution to student employability:

Upon graduation, the editorial material and research report can be presented, at interview stage, to potential employers. Communication and confidence are developed through pitching an idea to peers and through sourcing and undertaking industry interviews. Time management is critical as this is a short six-week project, so effective organisation is required. Market awareness and the intuition to spot a gap in the market further entrepreneurialism.
Around half of the cohort tends to have placements lined up, but all students are offered an exit tutorial, as well as sessions on CV writing, marketing, interview techniques and freelancing.

Outcomes and impact:

As an example, one graduate now works for the Glasgow Herald as its fashion & lifestyle editor – a role created following her major project presentation to the editor who was impressed with her foresight and could see that she could bring something to the newspaper. Whilst on the course, students have had work published in India, Sweden, Canada, China, and Denmark.

For further information contact:

Nilgin Yusuf, Programme Director for Media and Communication in the Graduate School
London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London

Publication: HEA Enhancing employability through enterprise education: Examples of good practice in higher education

Publication: WORK OF ART: Understanding Enterprise & Employability in Art & Design Higher Education.

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