RNCM receives £900,000 to support students’ professional development 

The RNCM, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (CSSD) and University of the Arts London (UAL) have been awarded over £900,000 by the Office for Students and Research England to develop a joint entrepreneurial project to support the professional development of students within the creative arts.

Led by the RNCM and running over two years, the StART Entrepreneurship Project will enrich the entrepreneurial training provided at each world-leading institution via new and enhanced tuition and a range of knowledge exchange activities. These include student workshops between the RNCM, CSSD and UAL and professional placements, mentorships and networking opportunities with partner organisations across the creative industries sector, helping students to develop the necessary skills and real-world experience to build successful and sustainable careers.

RNCM students attending a lecture

Dr Michelle Phillips, RNCM Deputy Head of Undergraduate Studies and Principal Investigator for the project, said: ‘The RNCM is one of the world’s most forward-thinking conservatoires and entrepreneurship has been an integral part of our offer for a number of years. Thanks to this significant funding, we now have an exceptional opportunity to build on the amazing initiatives we already provide, such as the Entrepreneurship Award and the huge range of professional placements, and to introduce new content throughout our undergraduate degree.’

Awarded £902,153 out of a possible £1 million, the StART Entrepreneurship Project is the result of a funding competition run by the Office for Students and Research England to explore the impact of student involvement in knowledge exchange. In addition to workshops and placements, it also includes an expert Advisory Board and a postdoctoral research strand to evaluate activity at key stages throughout the two-years.

‘These are important additions because they will help us to form a clear picture of how models and theories of entrepreneurship may be best used and adapted for creative arts students,’ Dr Phillips said. ‘The knowledge gained will be relevant to all creative Higher Education programmes in the UK and internationally as it will provide a better understanding of how graduates may be best prepared to succeed, thrive, and lead in this industry.’

Jessica Bowles, Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of the MA/MFA Creative Producing Course at CSSD explained: ‘Embedding entrepreneurial skills into the curriculum and imparting this crucial knowledge to our students as they embark on their professional careers has long been a priority at Central. This generous award will allow us to further expand on this work whilst establishing strong networks and sharing ideas and best practice with our partners at the Royal Northern College of Music and University of the Arts London. We can’t wait to get started with this important work.’

Dan Henderson, Associate Dean: Graduate Futures and Enterprise at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts, London added: ‘We are extremely excited to be working with our partner institutions, their colleagues and their students to support the development of the next generation of freelancers, start-ups/SMEs and enterprising employees within the creative industries by providing fit for purpose enterprise education to creative arts HEI students.

‘Being involved in this partnership is extremely exciting and a natural fit for UAL given its proven track record in producing entrepreneurial talent. Research has shown UAL graduates to be amongst the most entrepreneurial in the UK – we launched more than 200 start-ups in 2017/18 and a higher percentage of our graduates go on to become business leaders than from any other university.’

21 April 2020