Enhancing graduate employability through work-based learning in social entrepreneurship: A case study

Afreen Huq, David H. Gilbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the possible benefits of a work-based learning (WBL) model in "social entrepreneurship" for enhancing graduate employability and an appreciation for "responsible" entrepreneurship. Design/methodology/approach: Pre- and post-course experience surveys were conducted with the yearly cohorts, followed by focus group discussions with students in each semester between 2008 and 2011. In addition, ten not-for-profit (NFP) industry partners were interviewed for their feedback on the enhanced curriculum. Findings: The findings strongly validate the adoption of WBL curriculum for social entrepreneurship in enhancing graduate employability and opportunities for responsible entrepreneurship education. The case study also provides insights into how to overcome the key challenges relating to designing and implementing WBL models through a curriculum innovation in social entrepreneurship. Research limitations/implications: Further research with longitudinal data is needed to validate the link between students undertaking work-based learning and enhanced graduate employability. Future research should also investigate whether there is a major difference in the associated benefits and challenges of WBL initiatives between "social" and "for-profit" enterprises. Practical implications: Higher education providers could consider incorporating WBL as part of their response to the employability agenda, in a climate where employers are increasingly seeking graduates who possess entrepreneurial skills and an awareness of ethical and environmental concerns emerging from the new post-global recession economic era. Originality/value: Social entrepreneurship has received scant attention within the field of WBL. This case study demonstrates how this field can inform the WBL model to enhance graduate employability. It also provides a case for how WBL within the NFP sector can produce more socially responsible graduates who are capable of adding value to the CSR initiatives of organisations across sectors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-572
Number of pages23
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Enterprise education
  • Graduate employability
  • Graduates
  • Responsible entrepreneurship
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Social responsibility
  • Work-based learning
  • Workplace learning

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