Welcome back to the University of Worcester, who have recently successful reapproved as an IOEE Centre of Excellence!
We spoke to Dr Karen Bill who currently works in the Marketing and Enterprise Department in the Business School at the University and has an extensive background in enterprise and entrepreneurship and recognised nationally for her contribution to enterprise by being awarded a Fellow from the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education (NCEE), an Honorary Fellow from Enterprise Educators UK (EEUK) and a Fellow from IOEE. Having previously worked as a senior lecturer in Sports Management, Karen stated that the catalyst which began her enterprising journey came in 2006 with her promotion to Principal Lecturer of Enterprise and External Relations in the Sport and Exercise Science Department. It was with this promotion that Karen enrolled on to the very first International Entrepreneur Educators program which centres around learning different pedagogy and teaching techniques best suited for the enterprising mission. But her enterprising CV does not stop there; Karen then went on to become Associate Dean in Enterprise and Research at Wolverhampton University, in 2016 became Chair of Enterprise Educators UK for a year and finally qualified as an Entrepreneurial Mindset Practitioner. Her extensive history in enterprise not only fully qualifies her to provide students with the best possible enterprising education but has also qualified her to be an enterprising guest speaker in China and even judge the National Enterprise Educator Awards. It is clear from speaking with Karen Bill that her passion lies in enterprising education and remaining at the forefront of all enterprise innovation, both of which are reflected in the Universities enterprise curriculum.
At the university students are able to take on a number of practical enterprising opportunities such as internships with huge companies such as Bosch and enterprising placements. One student in particular started her own lingerie business called ‘Penny and a pearl’ whilst completing her enterprising placement year at the university and went on to be crowned the winner of the WINN ‘make it happen challenge’. WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP (local enterprise partnership) with whom the Business school work very closely. Students are given further help in developing their own enterprising passions with the university’s new ‘Enrich’ program. Since its launch last year, the programme has been virtual thus far but will move to be a physical programme following the culmination of the covid pandemic. The program consists of around seven sessions in which students generate their own business ideas and work through what they need to make it successful.
The Business School also offers chartered management degree apprenticeships and university diplomas in leadership management, working with large companies such as Hitachi. Karen leads undergraduate apprenticeships and these awards in the business school. All these opportunities allow students to get real practical experience in the business and enterprise world. Since the pandemic hit, the university has adapted extremely well without any real problems or issues. Moving forward Karen hopes to learn from the good practice they adopted during this time and looking at possibly introducing a blended mix of learning dependent on what best fits the needs and experience of the students.
One of the main reasons Karen highlights as to why the University wanted to reinstate their Centre of Excellence status was because of the positive impact it had on student experience. With IOEE, students join our online community and gain access to all our online resources. Of these resources Karen stated that the Department was particularly excited about the mentoring service that IOEE provides for students. With their membership students benefit from our ‘member to member’ online mentoring service, this program connects students to enterprising professionals who share their skills, experiences, and top tips for enterprise. In addition to this our online community of entrepreneurs gives students the opportunity to network with likeminded people and professionals in the industry.
From speaking with Karen Bill it is clear to see that the University of Worcester take their enterprising education very seriously and keep student experience at the forefront of everything they do. We’re so pleased you’re staying with us for another three years!
If you’d find out how you can gain Centre of Excellence approval go to our website at http://centres.ioee.uk
We hope to see you soon!