International students in UK struggle to find work experience opportunities
5 min read

International students in UK struggle to find work experience opportunities

UK News
Oct 14
5 min read

A new survey suggests that nearly two in five (39%) international students gained no work experience during their time at a British university – and sometimes this is not their choice, according to a survey.

The survey carried out by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) think tank and Kaplan International Pathways shed light on the rising pandemic-fueled competition between students and job opportunities. 

The newly surfaced report suggests that over 52% of international students think their university is doing well in supporting the careers support needs of international students. Still, the amount of work being done may not be ample to keep the rising education costs.

The survey, which covers 1,051 international students from 118 UK universities, has also highlighted that the competition for placements has been high amid the pandemic – with one of the respondents suggesting that the UK companies are "timid in the face of a hostile immigration system".

"39% of international students had no work experience during their time studying at a British university". 

In the survey, 75% of students say employability skills are embedded in their course and are happy with their course and university, compared with just 43% of those who say employability skills are not part of their course.

Students who feel their courses have not covered employability skills are twice as likely to say that, in hindsight, they would pick a different institution to do the same course (18% versus 8%) and three times as likely to say they would go to the other institution to do a different course (12% versus 4%).

Students feeling of getting less than what is paid for

graduation day in a university

While half of the students acknowledge their university's actions, some students tend to express the opposite. In the survey, some students revealed their feelings that they are "paying more but getting less" because some careers and employability support is seemingly targeted more at British students.

As the country is a dominant player in the international education system, the UK government has been under huge turmoil due to the pandemic. Another survey from the British Council has found that there will likely be 14,000 fewer new students from East Asia in UK higher education in 2020/21 compared to last year. This will equate to a loss of £463 million in tuition and living expenses.

UCAS data, which is the annual enrollment for international students entering the UK, also explained that the number of EU students accepted to undergraduate degree courses is 56% lower this year than at the same time last year, while non-EU international students are up 5%. 

With the economy dealing against the virus-spread economy, many overseas students have expressed that a higher need for career support is expected if the UK remains a destination of choice.

Vishvender Singh

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