A recent study from the United Kingdom highlights the relevance of career guidance for overseas students. When it came to picking a university in the UK, the vast majority of poll respondents (82 percent) reported that the professional help they expected was “essential” or “extremely significant.”
Even more people (92 percent) expressed the same about the employment abilities they hoped to develop at the university. Students’ aspirations prior to arriving on campus are reflected in such remarks. In stark contrast to those lofty expectations, the study indicated that only nearly half of presently enrolled students (52 percent) believe their university is offering adequate advancement opportunities.
“The primary reason most students attend higher education is to secure a rewarding career afterward,” said HEPI Director Nick Hillman. “So the quality of the careers and employability support is critical in attracting more students. Yet some international students feel they are paying more but getting less because some support is seemingly targeted more at-home students.
However, Hillman thinks that the answer to this situation is to provide adequate support to the student coming from the foreign land till the time they complete their studies in the UK.
“The answer to this conundrum is to reconsider the support provided before, during, and after study,” Hillman said. “Students need good pre-arrival information, equal access to work experience opportunities, and easy access to support after graduation. Effective support is not cheap but it is clearly an appropriate use of the higher fees that international students pay.”
In addition, the study emphasizes the relevance of work-study synergy for overall student happiness. In the survey response, the Employability skills was included in over half of all students’ academic courses (58 percent).
A majority of focus group participants admitted that there’s a massive number of students who had studied abroad in various countries, suggesting that they seemed less well placed in what was a more dynamic local labor market, according to the study report.
A few of the students had regarded the possibility for linked work experience in the UK as one of the most important aspects of their UK higher education experience.
And three-quarters of those students (75 percent) said they were satisfied with their courses and universities. In contrast, only 43% of students who did not have employability skills in their courses said they were satisfied with their choice of university.
Additional areas of career support mentioned in the poll include specific career services for international students, both in terms of finding work in the host country and in their home countries, as well as post-graduation assistance. Approximately half of the respondents (51%) believe alumni should have access to career services for one to five years following graduation.
Another statistic that highlights the gap between student expectations and reality is that nearly four out of ten respondents (39%) indicated they had obtained zero professional experience while at university. A quarter (23%) had done some paid employment unrelated to their degree, while a third (35%) had gotten some experience that was connected to their study (only about half of which was paid work).
The vast majority of students who responded to the survey (71%) also stated that they intend to work in the United Kingdom following graduation. While those students’ ambition is evident, the study raises some significant questions about how well-prepared and confident they are for the job search that will follow their degree.