Northumbria University students have praised a pioneering enterprise programme for giving them the real-life learning experience and entrepreneurial skills to succeed in business.
A survey conducted by the university’s Business Clinic revealed that almost half (46%) of its students rated themselves as having the highest level of entrepreneurial mindset skills, compared to just 14% at the start of the course. Almost nine out of ten (86%) rated themselves in the top two categories (level four or five).
Three out of four students said they had developed the highest level of teamworking skills compared to 17% at the start, while 69% rated themselves as having first-class communications skills (compared to 33% at the start).
The students also said working with the Business Clinic helped them to develop problem-solving, critical analysis, people management and project management skills which would be useful in their careers. More than four in five (82%) rated themselves in the top two categories for skills in innovation management and digital technology, compared to 45% at the start of the module, while 64% said they had developed top decision-making skills as a result of their time at the Business Clinic.
A total of 240 students took part in the survey.
One of the students, Ella Craggs, recently completed a Business Clinic project with Nexus to work out ways of promoting the transport operator’s green credentials to encourage more customers to use the Tyne and Wear Metro.
Ella, who led a team of students on the project, said: “It was fantastic to gain such invaluable practical experience to complement our academic studies; it looks great on our CVs and gives us the edge over our peers when applying for a job. We had an excellent professional relationship with Nexus. They were easy to work with and gave us some really positive feedback on many of our ideas.
“At times it was challenging to keep to project deadlines and timescales, but all four students on the project have complementary skills so we made it work well.”
Nigel Coates, founder of the Business Clinic at Northumbria University, said: “One of our key objectives is to give students the necessary skills and real-world experience to succeed in business and in life. They get the opportunity to showcase their business acumen by working on live projects that add genuine value to organisations.
“Our students are encouraged to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, which can help them to either launch their own business venture or create a culture of enterprise in the organisation that employs them. Our survey results show how much they value our support and how useful it is as they embark on their chosen careers.
The Business Clinic offers pro-bono consultancy support to SMEs, multi-national organisations, charitable organisations, educational trusts and social enterprises that operate across a wide range of sectors, both in the North East of England as well as further afield in the UK and overseas.
Students work at the Business Clinic within their final year of study, offering clients a full consultancy experience that takes in activities as diverse as feasibility studies including finance, investment and growth; HR including recruitment, retention and diversity; marketing including branding and digital; business analytics; logistics and supply chain. The aim of each project is to undertake research and make recommendations that will benefit the organisation in the short and long term.
The Business Clinic is part of Northumbria’s Newcastle Business School, which recently relaunched its entrepreneurship programme following 10 years of excellence and experience in the field of enterprise.
The newly-designed programme follows a decade of supporting hundreds of students in setting up their own businesses. In the past 10 years, the business school has supported almost 200 students through its entrepreneurial business programmes. This year’s graduates alone have created 32 businesses over the three-year programme, with 11 of those carrying on after graduation. In their final year, these students turned over £150,000.