University’s Careers Service highlighted for best practice in entrepreneurial support

The University of Chester’s entrepreneurial Venture Programme – which supports enterprising students and graduates – has been showcased as an example of best practice in the sector.

The Venture Programme is run by the Student Futures (Careers and Employability) team at the University. It equips students and graduates with the skills and knowledge to start up a business or build their freelance career. It comprises nine modules, which cover different aspects of starting up a business. These are: Setting Up; Sales and Marketing; Business Responsibility; Finance and Funding; Enterprise Skills; Business Planning; Legal Matters; Online Marketing and 1-to-1 business advice surgeries.

In the most recent publication of Phoenix, which is the Association of Graduate Careers Advisory Services (AGCAS) journal, the Venture Programme is showcased.

In 2018, the Venture Programme was significantly changed, with a focus on: flexible delivery; a grant scheme; a Venture Network (which is a monthly meeting held in a local restaurant or bar); and video capture (with 26 teaching sessions being made available online).

Writing in the journal, Kirsty Badrock, Entrepreneurship Co-ordinator within the Careers and Employability – Student Futures team, said: “We have created a model which has raised student engagement, retains contact with our alumni and strengthens our partnerships within the local business community… Student engagement increased significantly through increased programme flexibility and accessibility, the introduction of a business grant scheme, the opportunity for students to discuss their ideas within a different learning environment – or owing to a combination of these developments… Venture itself is fluid and innovative in nature. The programme has been the platform to test, try and pilot ideas… Entrepreneurship programmes need to be run in an entrepreneurial way.”

Diane Appleton, Head of Careers and Employability at the University of Chester, said: “Phoenix magazine states: ‘As graduates are increasingly required to demonstrate greater career agility to navigate an ever complex and transient labour market, a deeper understanding of what it is to be entrepreneurial has never been more important’ – and here at the University, we couldn’t agree more. I’m very proud that the Venture Programme has been showcased in this way.”

In keeping with the flexible and approachable model of the University’s Careers and Employability team, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the team has moved to offering an online service. It is currently supporting students and graduates to plan their next steps either by telephone, Skype or through the ‘Ask a Question’ feature on the University’s CareerHub. Telephone or Skype appointments can be booked on the CareerHub or students and alumni can contact careers@chester.ac.uk.

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