UK looks to send 15,000 students to China

June 19, 2013

The British Council is encouraging more students to either study or gain work experience in China with the launch of its Generation UK campaign.

Echoing the USA’s 100,000-strong initiative, the aim of Generation UK is to create a new generation of “more globally, culturally and business aware young people”, with the hope of at least 15,000 students heading to China by 2016. The British Council said that around 3,500 British students studied in China in 2011, according to the most recent figures.

As part of the campaign, the British Council aims to expand the amount and variety of scholarships available. The 2013/14 British Council China Scholarship will mark the first phase of Generation UK’s academic scholarship strand, with further academic support due to be announced later this year. The details of a two-month funded internship scheme with places available across China will also be announced in the summer.

The third element of the scheme is to support careers advisors in their understanding of international opportunities, and the British Council has already arranged a UK Career Advisers’ Mission to China.

At the launch of the campaign, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts outlined the impact of study overseas. “Studying abroad can be hugely beneficial to both the individual and the UK. It gives students vital skills and knowledge which can help increase their employment opportunities back home. Generation UK will provide young people with an opportunity to work or study in China, giving them real life experiences that will make them more attractive to businesses in the UK and abroad,” he said.

Phil Baty, Editor of Times Higher Education World Rankings, highlighted China’s academic reputation. “China has some of the most exciting and dynamic universities in the world – with many rising rapidly up the global league tables, boosted by extremely generous funding by Western standards and a commitment to high standards of teaching.”

Funding for the scheme is coming through investments from the British Council and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, with further investment being called for from the business community.

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said, “Business leaders have told us many times that they fear for the UK in a global economy if our young people do not gain international experience and skills. This campaign is designed to provide that. Currently, the UK lags far behind other nations in terms of young people’s outward mobility. We can only address that challenge if our business and education leaders work together.”

Generation UK is undertaking a road show to discuss the campaign with university staff and will launch a student road show in the autumn.

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