by Simona Boeva
, posted on 2 Sep '20

Employment Opportunities for International Students – a Ray of Sunshine in Times of Uncertainty

As a follow up to our August Marketing Conference Webinar, we asked Simona Boeva, Head of International Development at London Metropolitan University, to comment on the new graduate route. Here she shares the feedback she's getting from market and what we can do next to support international students.

There is no denying it - the international student recruitment landscape has undergone a dramatic shift in the past few months. In a blink of the eye we went from packed face-to-face recruitment fairs across the globe to virtual events and Zoom calls from our kitchen tables. Despite the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, it seems that the UK remains a popular study destination due to a number of factors – one of these being employability opportunities and the new graduate route. We are seeing significant increase in the number of enquiries, especially from South Asia and the USA, and when asking students what is driving this interest during such an uncertain time, the most frequent response is the opportunity to work after graduation.

How do we turn a bad situation into a positive one?

In an environment of uncertainty, job losses and unclear economic future, employability has become the number one priority for many students, and higher education is the path to more enhanced career opportunities.

Creating a clear consistent messaging about the employment opportunities in the UK, promoting our full portfolio of work placements, internships, prospects for entrepreneurship alongside the graduate route is the best way forward and brings us back to being a top choice destination alongside competitors such as Canada and Australia.

Where next?

The first thing we can do is to establish a clear marketing messaging – focusing on the whole employability portfolio as opposed to the graduate route only, to cater for all student groups. We need to ensure that we are keeping our messaging realistic and not over-promising as we are still expecting more clarity about the route.

Another effective tool is the use of third-party providers and online platforms who help students find work placements – this would support our progress and will help us send a positive marketing message to a wider audience. Third-party providers are also an effective way of staying in touch with alumni who have completed work placements – and there is no greater ambassador for your institution, and the UK higher education sector, than your own alumni.

Is remote working the future?

There has been a clear pattern of enquiries about online internships and work placements. The introduction of online internships as a result of Covid-19 offers students a more diverse experience and the opportunity to work for companies based abroad from the comfort of their homes, reducing the cost for them and expanding their choice. This seems to have been perceived by students in a positive way and offer additional opportunities to enhance their employability skills.

Thank you to Simona for sharing her perspective on this topic and to her colleague, Jenny Wilkinson, for presenting at our recent webinar. Our Marketing Conference Webinar Series will be tackling a range of topics and are free to attend. If you would like to be informed of future events, please email [email protected] if you would like to added to our mailing list.

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