Postgrads sought to help firms succeed overseas

Business secretary Vince Cable has announced that companies are to recruit postgraduate students to help them break into overseas markets.

May 6, 2014

The students will work during their vacations to help businesses overcome any language and cultural barriers they may face when exporting.

The postgraduates will help the firms develop international websites, make new business contacts and advise on cultural etiquette. Universities will work with business schools and UK Trade and Investment to flag up students with appropriate language skills.

There is a pool of around 200,000 overseas postgraduates studying at UK universities from which the Postgraduates for International Business scheme can recruit, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. British students may also have language skills, the government says.

BIS says that the high growth export markets of China, India, and Nigeria are the top non-European Union countries that send students to the UK. The most popular subjects for international students are business studies, engineering and technology, it adds.

“The ‘Made in Britain’ brand opens doors to UK firms around the world but a lack of language and cultural skills slams them shut in their faces,” Mr Cable said.

“Our medium-sized businesses have the potential to be economic powerhouses for the UK but their success is dependent on expanding beyond domestic markets.”

He added: “This important new initiative will help firms overcome the barriers that are a drag on growth and compete with the best the rest of the world has to offer.”

A UKTI language and cultural advisor in each region of the country will work with universities and firms. Usually international student visas allow postgraduates at universities to work up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays.

UKTI’s lead language and cultural adviser, Suzannah Hutton, said: “Recruiting an international student from the market you are trying to export to can have a dramatic effect on your business…whether that is undertaking market research, dealing with enquiries that arrive in a foreign language or making sure that you do not make a cultural faux pas when meeting international clients.”

holly.else@tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest