UK universities launch "study abroad" campaign

British universities have launched a Support Study Abroad campaign fearsing that in a no-deal Brexit UK students will lose the financial backing that enables them to study abroad.

Student graduates at King's College Cambridge, UK
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Read more about Brexit, education and immigration in the latest issue of Relocate magazineUniversities UK (UUK), which represents 136 higher learning institutions, are calling on the government to continue funding study abroad if there is a no-deal Brexit, resulting in Britain having to withdraw from the EU's Erasmus programme, which provides grants for students to study at universities across Europe.According to UUK, 17,000 students would miss out on the opportunity to study on the continent next year if the UK had to withdraw from Erasmus and the government did not step in to provide an alternative grant system.

Study abroad while at university: the benefits

Alistair Jarvis, UUK chief executive, said, "The benefits of study abroad are well documented. Not only does study abroad have clear employability benefits for students, it helps them to develop the language, communication and inter-cultural skills that will be so essential to building a truly global Britain."An investment in international experience for our students now is an investment in the future of our economy."Without the international opportunities offered through schemes like Erasmus, the UK's workforce will not be equipped to meet the changing needs of the economy post-Brexit."In the case of a no-deal Brexit, I strongly urge the government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme."School search and education advice - connect with our in-country expertsUUK said that study abroad supported social mobility with students who studied abroad outperforming their peers academically and professionally. Research reveals that 19 per cent of those who had studied abroad were more likely to gain a 1st class degree; 20 per cent were less likely to be unemployed; and 10 per cent were more likely to be in ‘graduate’ jobs six months after graduation.

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"For those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups the benefits are even more pronounced," said UUK. "BME students who studied abroad are 17 per cent more likely to be in 'graduate' jobs six months after graduation. Mature students who participated in these programmes earn 10 per cent more than their peers."The organisation also quoted research by the Confederation of British Industry showing that international opportunities helped students develop skills that UK businesses need, with 70 per cent of SMEs believing that future executives will need foreign language skills and international experience.The research also found that 39 per cent of employers were dissatisfied with graduates’ inter-cultural awareness and that almost half of employers were unimpressed with graduates’ language skills.

What is the Erasmus+ programme?

The Erasmus+ programme started in 2014 and was due run until 2020. It gives students in higher education the chance to study in another European country for between three to 12 months as part of their degree course, with grants from the European Commission.A spokesman at the Department for Education in London said, "Under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, Erasmus students will be protected until the end of 2020. However, it is the responsibility of government to prepare for every eventuality, including no deal."In the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place, the government's guarantee on Erasmus will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ bids submitted before the end of 2020."Successful bids are those approved directly by the European Commission or by the UK National Agency and ratified by the European Commission."Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online DirectorySubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all of the international assignments and global mobility news.

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