Majority of graduates say universities fail to equip young entrepreneurs – FE News

New data released today (5 July) revealed that half of recent graduates have received no advice or encouragement to set up their own business – a worrying prospect for the future growth of new businesses in the UK.

The research also found that male graduates are more than four times more likely to feel confident about starting a freelance career than female graduates, with just over one in ten female graduates feeling confident working for themselves. same.

The data, from a new survey of 500 recent university graduates by Opinium and online platform for freelancers, UnderPinned, also reveals that 80% of graduates believe that universities and other educational institutions do not provide the the right tools, courses and guidance to equip students and graduates for independent careers. Meanwhile, 78% think universities are too focused on traditional career paths and not enough on developing marketable skills.

Very few graduates say they received technical training in key skills needed by those working for themselves, such as compiling tax returns (11%), finding clients (9%) and preparing contracts (9%). Nearly two-thirds of recent graduates (63%) believe universities should offer sessions on running your own business, including invoicing and tax reporting.

According to the latest data from the ONS, there are currently 4,232,000 self-employed people in the UK, meaning that people who run their business for themselves make up 15% of the UK workforce. United. However, the latest available data also shows that people under the age of 24 make up just 3.8% of the UK’s self-employed. By way of comparison, 50-54 year olds represent 13.7% and 45-49 year olds 13%. The analysis shows that there is also a significant gender gap – with the self-employed in the UK being 65% male and 35% female.

The news follows UnderPinned’s announcement that it is partnering with four leading London universities to help students market their skills and run their own businesses. These partnerships give around 28,200 students – at University of the Arts London, London College of Communication, St Mary’s University, Twickenham and London Metropolitan – access to an innovative online platform that provides a ‘virtual office’, including tools to create an independent portfolio, find and manage clients and projects, and produce invoices and contracts. Students can also participate in a Freelance Business Accelerator program, a comprehensive online course with modules that help students learn how to evaluate their work, pitch to clients, and build their portfolio.

Albert Azis-Clauson, CEO of UnderPinned, said:

“These results underline that universities are far too focused on traditional employment streams, and do not understand at all that the world of work is changing. People no longer just want to be introduced to full-time employment, but want to start their own business, work flexibly and market their skills.

“The UK has huge entrepreneurial potential, as shown by our large self-employed workforce – but it’s still heavily skewed towards older people and career changers.

“Our education system is failing to tap into the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit by doing so little to help young people learn marketable skills and gain confidence in their own business potential.

“Clearly this is particularly disappointing to women, and it’s frankly shocking that female graduates leave university with four times less confidence in working for themselves than their male counterparts.” Universities need to step up and prepare students for the world of work as it is today, not as it once was.

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