The new imperatives of the knowledge-based society require engineering students to equip themselves with a broad range of skills, among which entrepreneurship plays a critical role. An academic itinerary was designed with the explicit aim of improving the entrepreneurial attitudes of agricultural engineering students in a state university in southern Spain. Within a wider research framework, this paper focuses on an evaluation of that itinerary using participatory techniques, and on a discussion of the lessons learned in the course of ten years of running the program. The findings highlighted the importance of building a solid support network involving a whole range of aspects and actors, and of carrying out continuous monitoring. The incorporation of this program into the standard curriculum, with a view to ensuring continuity, needs to be combined with other elements such as tutorship, thus providing a flexible response to the students’ various needs and demands. Training based on authentic learning, alumni participation and teamwork is recommended. The impact at a personal level is an extra dimension to be borne in mind. The participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methodology proved extremely useful for the purposes of program evaluation, enabling core issues to be identified. The authors would recommend taking the risk of running an entrepreneurship program even if conditions are not entirely favorable. The intensity and enthusiasm of day-to-day work in entrepreneurship education can instill a degree of commitment and motivation in students and academic staff, and inspire them to tackle new challenges.
Assessing an Entrepreneurship Education Project in Engineering Studies by Means of Participatory Techniques
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