International students are important to the UK Higher Education (HE) sector and to the country more widely. Not only do they internationalise the academic environment and campus life, they also contribute more than £10.7 billion to the UK economy. Many universities see the benefits of a diverse international cohort on home students as they prepare students for graduate careers in a global economy.
Despite the importance of international students to UK HE, tightened visa requirements have made it more difficult for international students to work in the UK after graduating. In 2014, only 5,639 students were granted leave to stay in the UK under a Tier 2 visa, according to the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). The result is increasing pressure on University Careers Services to help international graduates to secure graduate roles in the UK or elsewhere in the world, and to help all graduates to adopt an international outlook on their career management including exploring global career options.
To address some of these challenges, The Careers Group developed a flagship Global Careers Series which aligned with each university’s internationalisation strategies to increase global reach and brand visibility and to better prepare our students for a globalised job market. This collaboration between five globally-minded universities is a unique opportunity for students interested in working internationally to find out about careers outside the UK through a series of interactive panel events that take students around the globe.
Students from all participating universities were welcome to attend any event and the partnership approach allowed a wider reach to students as well as ensuring a better return of investment to all participating employers. Participating universities included City, University of London, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, the School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London.
Each event saw panellists from different backgrounds share insights in the challenges and opportunities associated with working overseas. Employer representation came from five global regions or countries: China (King’s), South East Asia (SOAS), Middle East (UCL), North America (City) and Western Europe (Goldsmiths).
The purpose of the Global Series was to provide a platform for students to:
- Network with like-minded individuals and industry professionals
- Appreciate how experience in these countries could advantage graduates
- Understand and overcome the challenges to working
in the region
Engagement from employers proved to be an effective university business collaboration with over 32 employers taking part across five events. King’s kicked off the series with a range of employers and alumni sharing their personal experiences and top-tips of securing work in China.
This event gave an interactive introduction to Chinese business culture. City’s event was sponsored by three employers and our platinum sponsor, Global Experiences, offered one US$2,500 mobility grant to someone attending the event to participate in their US program. “…[I] particularly enjoyed engaging with student questions through your virtual platform. The China-Britain Business Council would be delighted to support any further events moving forward that help to connect students and graduates with career opportunities in China.”
So far, the Global Careers Series has attracted over 900 students with overwhelmingly positive feedback, particularly on accessing information on educational exchange, securing employment and volunteering opportunities overseas.