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Response to the Council for Science and Technology's note on strengthening entrepreneurship

HESA welcomes recommendations from the Council for Science and Technology to capture information on entrepreneurship education and graduate entrepreneurs.

The Council for Science and Technology’s letter to the Prime Minister, Strengthening entrepreneurship education to boost growth, jobs and productivity, stresses the economic and social value of entrepreneurship. The letter recognizes the necessity of robust and comprehensive data to support understanding of entrepreneurial activity.

The Council recommends in the letter that HESA should collect additional information about entrepreneurship when surveying graduates, and that we should work with universities and the government to evaluate the impact of entrepreneurship education.

These recommendations are consistent with HESA’s strategic aims of upgrading the data infrastructure for higher education, increasing the usefulness of data, and enhancing insight through data analysis. Among our on-going projects are two strands which will help deliver the evidence base sought by the Council for Science and Technology.

Understanding the place of entrepreneurship in the curriculum

We collect a substantial amount of data about the activities of higher education providers in the UK. This includes capturing details of HE providers’ formal curriculums – the modules, courses and qualifications that students can take.

We have recently developed a new system for classifying the modules, courses and qualifications that students take at university. The Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) expands and improves the current classification system (JACS) and will allow us to record the diverse and dynamic nature of UK higher education.

HECoS includes a new subject category – Enterprise and entrepreneurship – which will allow HE providers to record which of their modules, courses and qualifications include entrepreneurial activity. This will enable providers and others to understand the place of entrepreneurship within the formal curriculum, and to analyse the impact of entrepreneurship education after graduation.

The HECoS system will be used by HESA and UCAS from autumn 2019.

"HECoS and the NewDLHE review reflect our commitment to engaging with a wide range of stakeholders in order to ensure we are collecting the right data about the right topics"

Dan Cook, Head of Data Policy & Development, HESA

Analysing the impact of entrepreneurial education

Our current NewDLHE review aims to remodel the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey which collects information about what students do after leaving higher education. Part of our NewDLHE consultation sought feedback on what data we should collect. Over three quarters of respondents expressed high or very high support for including questions about graduate entrepreneurship in the survey.

A chart displaying consultation responses to our question on collecting entrepreneurship data

Now in the design phase of the new survey we are developing a bank of questions that can be asked of graduates who have started a business or are working in start-ups. Our design of these questions will be informed by the recommendations of CST.

Press Release

Press Officer