ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A FUNDAMENTAL TRANSVERSAL COMPETENCE IN FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS OF THE DEGREE IN CHEMISTRY
University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Generating entrepreneurial skills between first-year students is a challenge that Universities should face since it has been named as one of the key educational milestones in the European Union (EU) . The university environment constitutes the ideal scenario for the development of this type of skills in young students, since the role of educators is essential to enable students into challenges that should be trained to face rightly in their personal and professional future. In this sense, educating in entrepreneurship gives young students the necessary tools to complete their training by getting into real-world situations encouraging them to explore their environment with critical and constructive vision and enhancing positive values such as creativity, innovation, leadership, personal autonomy, teamwork and social responsibility.
This teaching-learning experience was carried out at the University of Alicante with the first-year students in the Degree in Chemistry, in a subject called Basic Laboratory Operations II. Some participative methodologies were used to promote the acquisition of entrepreneurial skills for students. Among them, a group of senior students were selected as mentors by tutorizing first-year students, providing them support and guidance, while they were developing entrepreneurial skills. In addition, these senior students carried out teamwork dynamics as a key element for the acquisition of skills such as leadership, decision-making, collaboration and communication. Furthermore, the young students were requested to make an elevator pitch, presenting an idea related to their Chemistry background to their classmates in a limited time. A specific series of lectures by PhD students and graduates of the Faculty of Sciences with a markedly entrepreneurial character were also scheduled. These talks were designed with the aim of sharing their experience and raising awareness among young students about entrepreneurship and how it can have a positive impact on their lives through the creation of their own project.
The level of satisfaction and usefulness of these activities, as well as the positive impact on entrepreneurship training (of mentors and students) were evaluated through the development of surveys, obtaining very positive responses. It can be concluded that this approach represents an excellent tool for generating entrepreneurial skills between first-year students as well as a good training in leadership and mentoring for senior students.
 European Commission/EACEA/Eurydice, 2016. Entrepreneurship Education at School in Europe. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.
Keywords: Mentoring, entrepreneurial competences, teamwork, Chemistry Degree.