'Improve employability' of overseas students or lose market

September 15, 2006

Universities and government officials need to improve the employability of overseas students if the UK is to hold on to its share of the international recruitment market, according to Tim Westlake, the director of international development at Manchester University.

Students from outside the European Union were increasingly focused on getting "added value" out of their investment in higher education, in the form of enhanced lifelong earnings, Dr Westlake told The Times Higher .

Institutions such as Manchester - which has 7,000 full-time equivalent international students - had a strong record in helping graduates to secure good jobs, he said.

But British institutions had been hampered recently by unco-ordinated policies on the employment of overseas graduates in the UK and by press reports in China and India of graduates with British degrees struggling to find good jobs, he added.

Dr Westlake warned: "Institutions that cannot prove the employability of their graduates are going to struggle more and more. It is important that the UK sends out a clear message about what it has to offer in this area."

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