The Bootleg Benchmarks – Eight ideas for Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum

Ready Unlimited is a small team that makes a big impact

Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager in The Lancaster University Enterprise Team reflects on learning from the recent International Educators Conference:

At the International Enterprise Educators Conference in Glasgow Caledonian University in September, I met Managing Director and principal consultant Catherine Brentnall of Ready Unlimited who was there to share and launch a draft of her guide for Secondary School teachers to support the development of careers and enterprise through the curriculum.

The guide – The Bootleg Benchmarks – ‘Eight ideas for Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum’ – was developed through a project funded by Enterprise Educators UK, and delivered in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire.

The guide, and an accompanying pedagogy survey, helps identify pragmatic actions which subject teachers can utilise, adapt and experiment with in their own classroom.  Catherine shares the Lancaster University’s Enterprise Team’s vision that through education, young people develop the enterprising and entrepreneurial knowledge, mind set and behaviours relevant to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. To achieve this, her mission, like our own, is to work with a community of educators so they can incrementally create and strengthen enterprising and entrepreneurial teaching and learning for all young people, through the curriculum.

Catherine welcomes feedback on Bootleg Benchmarks, and although it was designed with secondary schools mind, it’s an excellent starting point for teaching staff in HE wanting to innovate their practice.

Catherine works with hundreds of teachers and Head Teachers every year across the UK and abroad.  Her unique combination of skills and expertise enable her to bridge the gap between academic entrepreneurial learning theory and practice by effecting real change in classrooms.  ‘“If you give teachers the time and tools to develop enterprise education for themselves, they can change the experience of every student that comes into their classroom.’ said Catherine. Teachers involved in developing enterprise and Entrepreneurship education in the curriculum say it has enabled students to:

  • Have a sense of belonging and purpose in their community
  • Develop a love for lifelong learning
  • Connect with the world of work and business that they will one day move into
  • Develop enterprise capability, financial capability and economic and business understanding
  • See and make opportunities

For teaching staff at Lancaster interested in learning how they might start to introduce Enterprise into their modules the Bootleg Benchmarks offers a helpful eight-point check list from which to benchmark current practice.

Further reading on Enterprise and Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum in the QAA’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Guidance:

For the academic Year 2017/18, The Enterprise Team will be working with faculty teaching staff who offer curricular placements, consultancy projects and/or competitions, to design and promote co-curricular enterprise sessions to enable students to build a foundation for their commercial awareness and concepts of value creation in preparation for contact  with organisations. This offer is enhanced by the opportunity to join a community of enterprise learners in the weekly ‘Labs’ in the Learning Zone.

To get connected with other teaching innovators at Lancaster you can join LEEN (Lancaster Enterprise Educators Network) for updates on events and opportunities available to teaching staff at Lancaster by registering here

EEUK’s International Enterprise Educators Conference happens every year in Early September. Slides and themes from this year’s event can be seen here and here. Lancaster university is a member organisation of EEUK and staff can attend the EEUK best practice events throughout the year for free. Regular updates through LEEN.

Careers and Enterprise through the Curriculum – guide to accompany pedagogy bench marking tool. (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Sep 17, 2017].

Amanda Brooks, Enterprise Education Development Manager
Lancaster University Enterprise Team


LU awarded EEUK Research Project Fund

‘High Impact’ to demonstrate the importance of embedded enterprise culture


Enterprise opportunities at Lancaster University come in many forms; curricular and extra curricular, competitions, placements and funding, to name but a few.

Lancaster University has been awarded £5,000 of the total £20,000 Research Project Fund to conduct a new research project to identify the potential strategic impact of an embedded enterprise culture.

Simon Harrison, Enterprise Champion Project Manager, said, “We have curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for every student right across campus, from taught interventions and mentorship, through competitions and placements, to workspaces and funding. But they’re not being counted directly towards our strategic KPIs, so this project promises to really unlock the value of enterprise to Lancaster in a way that will be meaningful to other EEUK members.”

Although the research will be conducted by a consultant with suitable experience within HEIs, the Enterprise Team will be looking to identify a Research Buddy internally to ensure that the research can contribute to Lancaster’s own academic portfolio.  To find out more, or to read the submission, please email

To read other University finalists also awarded with the Research Project Fund, follow this link.

EEUK Event for Enterprise Educators

Developing the entrepreneurial potential of Post Graduate and Early Career Researchers- Weds 24th June 2015, University of Southampton Science Park, 10am-4pm


EEUK event where delegates will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn from and exchange best practice with colleagues from across the UK
  • Share ideas about introducing new approaches in their region or institution
  • Begin collaborations through new connections, as part of a national network


In March 2013, the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry ‘Bridging the Valley of Death: Improving the Commercialisation of Research’ drew on a broad range of evidence relating to problems encountered in the commercialisation of UK academic research and support for early stage businesses. The Committee concluded that opportunities for the commercialisation of academic research are being lost because of a number of system failures.

  • Research      funding tends to stop before an idea is commercially validated
  • Many      researchers do not wish to be entrepreneurs and will move on to the next      research project without checking the commercial potential of their work.
  • Some      universities discourage their senior researchers from pursuing      opportunities for commercialisation, as this can interrupt or damage their      research career and hence the academic status (and research budgets) of      the institution.
  • Even      where researchers do wish to progress the commercial potential, they often      lack the skills and support to do so.
  • Where      ideas do spin out of a university, they are often seen as very high risk      and can struggle to raise the financial and other support necessary to      develop the idea. This can be either because the technical concept and      potential market have not been sufficiently well proven or the designated      team is perceived to lack the skill set required to take the business      forward.” March 2013

While existing programmes for undergraduates along with taught post graduate programmes provide a range of ways for the learners to enhance their understanding of the importance of innovation to the wider community, there is little that offers the research community the opportunity to test their IP or expertise with industries or commerce, let alone develop the key skills of commercial idea identification, development and ultimately exploitation. These skills are essential regardless of whether the researcher progresses into academia or into the wider community.

This one day event will provide examples of existing programmes that aim to address the challenges above.

Speakers include:

  • Ben  McClure, SETsquared
  • Veronica Ferguson, Heriot Watt University
  • Cambridge Judge Business School, contributors to be confirmed

Book now or contact Kate Beresford with any queries