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Moving from conceptual ambiguity to operational clarity: Employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship in higher education

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the terms "employability", "enterprise" and "entrepreneurship" are currently being used, often interchangeably, within higher education, and to propose how to clarify this issue with the terminology. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The approach taken is to discuss the three terms and some of their current conceptualisations and suggest ways to clarify the terminology. Possible methods of operationalising the three concepts within higher education are also suggested. Findings ‐ Employability, enterprise and entrepreneurship are high on the agendas of many higher education institutions. There is a crucial need for agreement on definitions particularly when strategies are being implemented. It is suggested that currently the terminology is often used carelessly and interchangeably, resulting in confusion for HE staff, students and employers. Originality/value ‐ The paper offers a clear way of defining the concepts and will be of value to anybody with an interest in employability, enterprise or entrepreneurship within higher education.

Keywords: Employment; Entrepreneurialism; Graduates; Higher education

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2010


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