Guidelines - entrepreneurship, enterprise and employability

FuelRCA was founded in 2005 to help Royal College of Art students prepare for life after graduation, and to support RCA alumni as they set up their own practices and gain employment in the creative industries.

Since then several reports and guidelines have highlighted the value of developing graduate entrepreneurship, enterprise and employability skills, and we list some of the main ones below, together with details of organisations which FuelRCA regularly collaborates with. The reports are available as pdf downloads or on-line, and we will add further resources and contacts as they become available.

Enhancing Employability through Enterprise Education, HEA, December 2014
This Higher Education Academy (HEA) resource seeks to share, disseminate and encourage good practice in enterprise education across the disciplines. The case studies provided represent higher education providers (HEPs) across the UK and provide diverse and innovative approaches to addressing enterprise education at a discipline and university level.  Profiles of organisations that can support HEPs  in addressing enterprise education are also included.  Download the report pdf

Enterprise for all: The relevance of enterprise in education, Lord Young for BIS, June 2014
This report for the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) focuses on entrepreneurial spirit in education. It is the latest in a series of moves from the UK government to make sure that young people leave education ready to work, with the skills and experience employers are after. The review covers the full breadth of education and is aimed at education leaders, teachers and all those involved in policy and delivery of teaching and learning. Lord Young’s recommendations mean that students will be able to rank university courses by their employment rates and earning potential. More and download the report pdf

Career Portfolios and the Labour Market for Graduates and Postgraduates in the UK, NCUB, April 2014
The first in a series of National Centre for Universities and Busines (NCUB) reports commissioned by HEFCE on business requirements for graduate and postgraduate skills. Employers said that in some sectors the degree subject is no longer sufficient to identify the best candidates and that in a modern economy they seek agile staff who can adapt to rapidly changing conditions. The authors are David Docherty and Rosa Fernandez. Read online or download the pdf here:

An introduction to enterprise education for creative subject students, Frances Brown, supported by NACUE Create, October 2013
The first part of the guide provides insight from students, graduates, creative business owners and educators on the kind of issues that may arise and the very specific needs of budding creatives, and part two outlines ideas for learning activities and shares exemplars from the great work in creative enterprise education across the UK. Download the pdf.

Enterprise education impact in higher education and further education, BIS, June 2013
Entrepreneurship is important for future economic growth. The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) commissioned ICF GHK to assess international literature on the impact of enterprise education initiatives. The research looks at increasing learners’ relevant knowledge, skills and ambitions to start a business, and how far this leads to higher business creation, business growth or employability. It also maps the extent and type of enterprise education delivered by higher and further education providers in England.
Download the pdf here: A response by Enterprise Educators UK is here

Disrupt Inc.: How young people are challenging the conventions of entrepreneurship, RSA March 2013
This Report reveals that the way in which some young people now start and run businesses is radically different to widely held assumptions. It was produced by the RSA and RBS as part of their Inspiring Enterprise partnership.
Download the pdf here:

QAA Enterprise and entrepreneurship education: Guidance for UK higher education providers, September 2012

This guidance document has been developed by representatives drawn from, and acting on behalf of, the enterprise education community, with support from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). It is intended to be of practical help to those working with students in higher education to foster their skills in enterprise and entrepreneurship.
Download the pdf here:

HEA Pedagogy for employability, 2012 update
Aimed at employability educators, includes creative-sector case studies of learning and teaching that support the development of student employability, in College, through distance and part-time learning and in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. 2012 update published by the Higher Education Academy. Originally published in 2006.
Download the pdf:
More info:

Wilson Review of Business-University Collaboration, February 2012
Since the Lambert Review (2003) there has been a huge change in both the quantum and the quality of business–university collaboration. This change has not only been stimulated by government funding initiatives but also by a growing realisation, within both business and universities, of the central role of universities in providing high‐level skills, a world‐class research base and a culture of inquiry and innovation.
Download the Wilson Review pdf
or visit the site

Report by the Creative Industries Council Skillset Skills Group 2012
Recommendations to the Creative Industries Council on industry led approaches to boost the growth and competitiveness of the UK's Creative Industries, including professional development. Published January 2012.

Whitepaper on Graduate Employability, London Workforce Development 2011
Makes the case for supporting students with 'personal development plans', not just job application skills.

Working towards your future, Confederation of British Industry and National Union of Students 2011
The  CBI and the NUS join forces to show what skills and attitudes employers are looking for in new recruits and provide practical tips to help students meet these requirements.
Download the report

Employability statements for HEFCE, Higher Education Academy 2011
Useful review of employability statements provided by English higher education institutions (HEIs) and further education colleges (FECs).

Students at the Heart of the System, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) 2011
White Paper setting out "how the government will create the conditions to encourage greater collaboration between higher education institutions and employers to ensure that students gain the knowledge and skills they need to embark on rewarding careers".

Creating Prosperity, Universities UK 2010
Summarises the findings of research into the role and contribution of higher education in the UK’s creative economy. Features evidence from existing data and research as well as case study analysis and contributions from industry, higher education and public sector partners. Includes a FuelRCA case study.

Creative Career Stories
The second report of the Creative Graduates Creative Futures longitudinal study of the early careers of more than 3,500 creative graduates, undertaken between 2008 and 2010. Provides further insights into creative careers some five to seven years after graduation. Published by the Institute for Employment Studies. Authors: Centre for Learning and Teaching in Art and Design, University of the Arts London, November 2010

Creative Graduates Creative Futures
This report provides a comprehensive exploration of the experiences, activities and contribution of creative graduates and their plans for the future. Published by the Institute for Employment Studies. Authors: Council for Higher Education in Art and Design; University of the Arts London, January 2010

Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education, National Centre For Entrepreneurship In Education (NCEE) 2010.
National survey of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship carried out between February and July 2010 with a 92% response rate from 126 Higher Education Institutions in England representing 1.8m students.

UK Creative Graduate Research, Skills Online Group 2010
Report giving first-hand insight into "graduate experiences when job seeking in the UK creative industry; launching as creative freelancers or setting up their first company". Note: this research is by a commercial organisation involved in on-line training.

Design Industry Insights, Design Council 2010
Gets up close and personal about designers' views of the industry, the performance of their businesses and their outlook on the future.

Visual Arts Blueprint, Creative and Cultural Skills 2009
A workforce development plan for the visual arts sector in the UK.

The Art of Innovation - How fine arts graduates contribute to innovation, NESTA 2008
Intriguing insights into how fine arts graduates contribute to innovation in the creative industries and beyond, and what policymakers can do to support their contribution.

Developing Entrepreneurial Graduates, NESTA 2008
According to this report, “inspired, self-confident, talented and enterprising graduates are more likely to found and lead dynamic new ventures and transform any organisation they join or manage”

Creating Entrepreneurship: entrepreneurship education for the creative industries, The Higher Education Academy Art Design Media Subject Centre and NESTA 2007
Explores what educational provision should be made to help prepare students to grow their own creative businesses.

High-Level Skills for Higher Value, Design Council and Creative & Cultural Skills 2007
Developed in consultation with over 4000 designers, the UK design industry skills development plan makes recommendations to address the skills gaps in schools, colleges and universities and the design industry.

The Art of Getting Started: Graduate skills in a fragmented labour, Institute for Employment Studies 2000
Still relevant study revealing significant gaps in art & design graduates' career preparation, including negotiation, networking, self-promotion, entrepreneurial and time management skills, plus lack of self-confidence and inability to cope with uncertainty. Worth searching the IES site for other art & design career publications.

Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) - useful reports on graduate employability and skills. CIHE is a network of blue-chip companies working with vice chancellors and universities to develop the UK’s knowledge-based economy.

Enhancing Graduate Employability Project - aims to enhance the employability of graduates through the higher education curriculum. Based at Oxford Brookes University.

Graduate Prospects - UK careers information, advice and opportunities for students and graduates. Includes info on types of job open to artists and designers.

FuelRCA collaborators

  • The British Council's Creative and Cultural Economy programme.
  • Enterprise Educators UK -  the national network for enterprise educators.
  • London Workforce Development - facilitates collaboration between businesses and universities to create workforce development solutions.
  • NACUE, the National Consortium of University Entrepreneurs, is a national organisation that supports and represents university enterprise societies and student entrepreneurs to drive the growth of entrepreneurship across the UK.
  • NACUE Create - the creative chapter of NACUE
  • National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education - stimulates a more entrepreneurial education sector.
  • National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) - an independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative. NESTA supports the InnovationRCA Incubator at the Royal College of Art.
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers - partners at global consulting firm PWC mentor RCA students and graduates on making a success of their creative ventures.
  • Royal Designers for Industry at the RSA. RDIs promotes the important contribution of design in manufacturing and industry, and provide a unique mentoring service to RCA students and alumni through FuelRCA.
  • Stephenson Harwood - partners at international law firm Stephenson Harwood mentor RCA students and graduates on protecting their intellectual capital.