More Scottish graduates are searching for work abroad
THE number of young graduates choosing to study or work overseas has surged by nearly 40 per cent in five years as students look to improve their chances of finding employment that matches their qualifications.
Figures released by the British Council show that between 2007-8 and 2011-12, the number of students studying in Scotland who took part in the Erasmus exchange scheme rose from 1,354 to 1,866.
The British Council said spending time abroad had become a “must-have” for students’ CVs at a time when growing numbers of university leavers are being forced to take low-skilled jobs due to a shortage of graduate positions.
Earlier this month, a study by the Higher Education Careers Service Unit found growing numbers of university leavers in “non-graduate” jobs such as office juniors or shelf stackers.
Erasmus, which has been managed in the UK by the British Council since 2007, is the European Union’s flagship educational exchange programme.
Lloyd Anderson, director of British Council Scotland, said: “The numbers of young Scots taking part in Erasmus has flourished since the British Council took over the running of the programme.
“This is important for Scotland’s future prosperity, as it means more of our young people are interacting with people from other countries, facilitating trade and other links.
“What’s particularly striking is the dramatic rise of young people choosing to work abroad for their Erasmus experience. This probably reflects the fact that young people are increasingly seeing a stint working in another country as a must-have for their CVs.”
Despite the success of the Erasmus scheme, there have been warnings it faces an uncertain future due to the current strains being put on the overall EU budget.
Graeme Kirkpatrick, vice president of the National Union of Students in Scotland, said: “Employers have also recognised the importance of students earning new skills abroad, as our Scotland Goes Global research report Developing Scotland’s Global Graduates shows. Almost two-thirds of the Scottish-based employers surveyed thought studying abroad would improve an applicant’s employment prospects, and a similar amount believed having students study abroad boosted their company’s global competitiveness.”
Case study: ‘Slovenia was the gateway to employment and promotion’
GRADUATE Shaun Marrinan says taking part in the Erasmus exchange programme “transformed” his time at Glasgow Caledonian university.
The 25-year-old, who is from Glasgow, spent six months at the University of Koper in Slovenia in 2010, where he studied management as part of his degree in international business.
“I hadn’t really been abroad before apart from holidays to Spain, so to go to an eastern European country really opened my eyes,” he said.
“At the university in Slovenia there were about 90 different nationalities and I made friends with people from all over the world. ”
Mr Marrinan, who now works for Tesco Bank added: “I got a job before I graduated and the experiences I had had from my Erasmus semester were the main talking point in the interview. Since then I’ve been promoted four times in my job. Young people need something different on their CVs.”
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