Global outlook essential for students say British Council reports

Aston University is leading the way by providing a truly intercultural university experience and equipping its students with the essential global skills.

Two British Council reports[1] have confirmed the importance of Aston University’s mission to prepare its students to become ‘global citizens’.

According to a new ICM business poll[2], three out of four business leaders believe that the UK is in danger of being overtaken by emerging countries unless young people learn to think more globally. The survey, commissioned by the British Council and Think Global charity, found that the UK is in danger of being left behind by emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil.

Similarly, only 48 per cent of UK students polled by YouGov[3] thought that an international outlook would benefit their work prospects.The research warns that if UK students do not have the skills wanted by multinational employers then "highly skilled and highly paid jobs will be increasingly taken by young people in countries other than the UK". Whilst 74 per cent of business chiefs are warning that students in the UK do not have the international outlook needed for a globalised economy.

Aston University is leading the way by providing a truly intercultural university experience and equipping its students with the essential global skills.

Aston University is addressing these issues through:

  • Courses designed to ensure Aston students are global thinkers such as the International Business and Modern Languages BSc which has been running at Aston since 1984. Its unique structure sets itself as a market leader for students who want to study business and language. 

  • A ’Languages for All’ programme giving all undergraduate students the opportunity to learn another language for free (Arabic, French, German, Mandarin Chinese or Spanish are all offered). 

  • A pioneering placement year which sees over 70 per cent of students at Aston take a year in industry or year abroad, enabling them to gain a greater appreciation of both the application and the context of their academic studies. 

  • Participating in the European Union's Erasmus programme which enables students to spend from three months up to a full academic year at another European institution. 

  • Working with Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) offering support in the form of projects at undergraduate, postgraduate and research levels. These address strategic needs for company product portfolios and provide students with real work experience in global settings.

Aston University is a diverse community with a multicultural worldview,” said Professor Julia King, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University. “At the last count, we welcomed more than 120 nationalities on our campus and as a core element of our agenda, we have launched a major programme to encourage all our students to study a modern foreign language. Just as we have always been determined to take the brightest and the best students irrespective of their family income, we are just as determined to equip our students with essential language and business experience. This will allow our students to have the confidence and capability to achieve a top graduate job anywhere in the world.”

Words by Louise Russell

19 December 2011


[1] Published in December 2011.

[2] The Global Skills Gap was conducted by ICM Research on behalf of the British Council and Think Global. ICM surveyed 500 chief executives and board level directors of businesses in the UK with at least 10 employees.

[3] Next Generation UK was Research conducted on behalf of the British Council.

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