Universities ignoring routes to small business says study

Universities aren’t doing enough to support their graduates interested in small business set-up, students have claimed within a study by PolicyBee.

The study surveyed over 1,000 graduates, and found that 62% of graduates did not have any advice around freelancing or self-employment from their university’s careers office.

Almost half of graduates felt disappointed by the support they received directly from their careers department in terms of preparing them for the world of work.

In addition, a third (32%) said they felt their faculty or academic department could have done more.

Kerri-Ann Hockley, who commissioned the study for PolicyBee, said: “Universities could do more to encourage and support potential freelancers.”

“More and more people are turning to self-employment to overcome the difficulties of our current economic situation. The study clearly shows that many graduates have an appetite for self-employment and need to make an informed decision about whether this is the right career choice for them.”

Self-employment in the UK is rising, and is currently at its highest level for more than 40 years.  Fewer people are also leaving self-employment than in the past.

Over half of the graduates surveyed in the study said they had undertaken some freelancing or work with small-businesses during their studies.

The study highlights that freelance and self-employed graduates have a wealth of skills that can give them the edge over their more mature counterparts.

Graduates also acknowledge that their biggest barrier when entering the world of work is the cost of establishing their own company, as well as being unfamiliar with business terminology and conduct.

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