In January 2016 the University of Warwick conducted research with 50 UK universities to explore the careers experiences and employability outcomes of UK-educated Chinese students. The study revealed a difficult paradox: Chinese graduates are required to both stand out and fit in once they return from studying in the UK.
The resulting report, ‘Standing Out and Fitting In,’ explored alumni, employers’ and current students’ perceptions and experiences. It highlighted a clear gap between what graduate employers want and what Chinese students expect when returning to China to work.
We spoke to Esther de Perlaky, International Employer Liaison Manager at the University of Warwick. She explained:
‘One of the key points we discovered from our research was that students wish they’d started to think about their careers much earlier, while they were still studying in the UK.’
‘It is also clear that students need to learn to be innovative by the time they are looking for work. In China in particular there is such a huge push on entrepreneurship and being innovative workers, but all companies and organisations around the world benefit from creative, innovative employees.’
In response, the team at Warwick created two new e-learning resources which launched earlier this month. The resources were a six-month project funded by the UK Government’s Prosperity Fund, through the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). While they’re aimed at Chinese students, the learning points, activities and guidance are suitable for all international students.
The content for these resources has been created with a wealth of support from students, alumni and employers both in the UK and in China. The team liaised with Chinese students from across the UK, Chinese alumni and employers. They worked closely with the careers team at Peking University to develop the e-learning resources and with innovation experts in the UK and China. The resources to students, alumni and universities in China in March with a positive response.
This is an online hub to help all students make the most of their time in the UK. It has been created by a team of experts in international education as well as international employers.
Esther de Perlaky, International Employer Liaison Manager at the University of Warwick said:
‘Thinking about your career doesn’t mean you have to decide the whole of your future now; instead it’s about thinking about and exploring options that interest you to help you discover more about yourself and possible career paths you may wish to choose.’
‘We created Prepare2GetAhead to lead students through a series of steps to help you start thinking about your career. It includes a host of information, quizzes and downloadable templates that you can use to create your own career plan and continue to use throughout your time studying in the UK and beyond.’
Visit Prepare2GetAhead for advice about developing a career plan, creating goals and making the most of your time studying in the UK.
With China focusing on mass innovation, including a push from Government to fund entrepreneurs, it is particularly important for Chinese students to think about developing innovative skills while you’re still studying. Of course, other international students will also benefit from exploring how to become more innovative.
The international team at the University of Warwick have created a set of learning activities, case studies and advice to help international students become more innovate.
One of the creators, Esther de Perlaky, International Employer Liaison Manager, said:
'Regardless of whether you intend to become an entrepreneur, innovation skills are needed by all types of organisations all over the world. Developing these skills while you're studying will help you to boost your employability, no matter what you want to do after your studies.'
Visit Innovate2GetAhead to learn more about innovation skills and how you can use these to develop your own business or help you to stand out in an organisation. It includes video case studies, learning activities and online chat groups to help you share your ideas and experiences.
You can also find both of these resources on our website at ukcisa.org.uk/Information--Advice/Studying--living-in-the-UK/Get-ahead-in-your-career