Career and employment support is one of the key focus areas for international students as well as higher education institutions in the UK. This is necessary if universities wish to compete globally and if they plan to add more foreign students to their campuses.
- A recent report by UK higher education charity UPP Foundation says employment support is a huge opportunity area for the country
- The Higher Education Policy Institute found in a study that for 82% of international students, careers support offered was the key when choosing a university
- The number of first-year students from India rose by 27% to over 53,000 in 2020-21
A recent report by UK higher education charity UPP Foundation also reiterates this. Published last week as part of the Student Futures Commission, it highlights employment support as a huge opportunity area for the country.
Employment support is the key driver behind decisions and concerns pre-arrival, with respect to part-time work and placements during study.
What The UK Government Must Do
Giving recommendations for the government, the report said the universities in UK should provide dedicated international placement officers who work with local and national companies to coordinate existing opportunities and find new opportunities for international students.
The UK government must also look towards developing a proactive and sector specific campaign targeting employers as part of the UK International Education Strategy, says the report.
Most recently, Paying more for less? Careers and employability support for international students at universities, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute, a think-tank, found that 82% of international students thought the careers support offered was either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ when choosing a university. However, just over half (52%) thought that their university was doing well in this area.
Globally, a lot of international students prefer to study in UK. In 2019-20 there were 557,000 international students studying at UK higher education institutions, comprising 22% of the total student population.
Some measures by the UK government such as the introduction of a new Graduate route in 2021, allowing eligible students to stay in the country to work, or look for work, for 2 years (3 years if studying at PhD level) after they have completed a degree in the UK, is a step that will help not just international students, but will also push UK universities to focus more on employability of their foreign students.
What The Numbers Indicate
Such steps have given a fillip to international student numbers, particularly those from India, even during the pandemic. With specific interest in the post study work visa, the number of first-year students from India rose by 27% to over 53,000 in 2020-21 from the previous year, as per data from the UK government.
A survey by HEPI in August 2021 suggests that international students look to stay in the country after studies to find work opportunities. It invited 114,307 students to participate. As many as 1,051 international students from 118 higher education institutions shared their responses.
Around 71% of foreign students said they intend to stay in the country to pursue job opportunities after graduation. Most of the respondents (74%) were students from outside the European Union.This again shows why career support will be an integral part of the journey of international students going forward. Some of the popular universities include University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of London, Imperial College London, University of Birmingham and Coventry University.