Preparing future-ready graduates through experiential entrepreneurship
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to propose an experiential entrepreneurship work-integrated learning (EE WIL) model recognising that the development of an entrepreneurial mindset enables graduates to manage their careers in uncertain labour markets. The model shows how students develop relationships with their professional community, and not only a few employers. Design/methodology/approach: The pedagogical underpinning of the conceptual model, attributes associated with the entrepreneurial mindset and relationships between the student, professional community and university are explained, and illustrated through a case study at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Findings: The EE WIL model enables students to develop agency through structured engagement with a professional community, facilitating the development of bridging social capital. Bonding social capital can be developed through intense, sustained interaction between students and their professional community. Practical implications: WIL curricula should be scaffolded and directed towards developing sustained interaction and information sharing, underpinned by professional community norms. This approach enables students to develop an aligned professional identity and emotional attachment to the professional community. The experiential development of an entrepreneurial mindset enables students to solve career challenges, by viewing these as opportunities. Professional communities and universities both share the responsibilities of preparing the future graduate workforce. Originality/value: The conceptual model draws on effectual entrepreneurship pedagogy and contributes to the WIL literature, showing that an entrepreneurial mindset can be cultivated experientially through an intensive, emotional and authentic learning experience.