Employers highlight demand for globally-skilled graduates by backing Go International: Stand Out campaign

10 December 2019

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) and Santander are among the first employer representatives to show their support for the Go International: Stand Out campaign, led by Universities UK International (UUKi), which aims to double the percentage of UK undergraduates who study, work or volunteer abroad during their degree. 

The campaign highlights the benefit to employers of global skills developed through international placements: this is an area where employers have identified a skills gap, with 39% identifying intercultural awareness as a weakness for graduate job seekers in 2017.

CBI, ISE and Santander have expressed the value of globally skilled graduates by signing up to the campaign's employer value statement, agreeing that 'the UK needs a globally-skilled workforce, with graduates who can negotiate, connect and engage internationally.' 

Employers can sign up to the employer value statement and make a pledge to support the campaign here.

In the campaign's third year, UUKi is calling on employers to sign up to a value statement that promotes the importance of skills gained through international placements, which are proven to improve graduate employment outcomes. UUKi research found that students who go abroad are more likely to gain a 1st or 2:1 degree (91%) than their counterparts who do not (80%) and are less likely to be unemployed than their non-mobile peers (3.1% unemployment compared to 4.2%). 

Vivienne Stern, Director, UUKi said:

"Following the success of the first two years of the campaign, we're delighted to welcome employers to join over 100 universities and organisations that have already acknowledged the importance of mobility opportunities for UK students. A joint effort is required to reach the national mobility target, and employers are the next piece in that puzzle. They are in the unique position to offer opportunities that will directly address the skills needs they observe day to day."  

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive, ISE said:

"Whether it's growing a global mindset or gaining skills through dealing with different challenges, employers highly value the attributes students can develop through international placements."

Matt Hutnell, Director for Santander Universities UK, said: 

"Santander is committed to supporting higher education as well as local communities across the UK. Student and graduate employability is one of the three key areas that we support across our university partners and we’re aware that students who have had an overseas experience as part of their university degree are more likely to acquire the skills needed to go on to secure employment after they graduate. 

"Providing opportunities for students in the UK to travel abroad is a fundamental part of our university partnerships and we’re delighted to support this campaign."

Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Officer, CBI said: 

"Business recognises the huge benefits that come with a globally skilled workforce. With firms increasingly operating in a global environment, those who have studied abroad as part of their degree are highly sought after for their unique skills, ideas and life experiences.

"Although more and more British students are gaining international experience, the UK still lags behind the likes of France, Germany and Spain in the number of students who opt to study abroad. That is why the work of Universities UK International and the Go International: Stand Out campaign is so important and why the CBI is pleased to back it."

In the first two years, the campaign has received over 100 pledges from partner universities and organisations, which have committed a range of activities to help increase the number of UK students undertaking international opportunities. Support pledged includes new scholarships for students to study abroad, discounts on visa services, free places on development programmes and discounted accommodation overseas.

Internship programme provider Puentes Abroad has recently joined the campaign, this week announcing a 15% discount on their internship programmes in Argentina and Uruguay for UK universities. 

The Goethe Institute also joins the campaign as its third international partner, committing to providing a 10% discount on intensive German courses and a 25% discount on a subsequent examination fee for UK universities.

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