‘UK remains strong employment market for overseas students’

The Scottish government runs the Saltire scholarship scheme for Indian students, offering funding support of £2000 to up 200 students

Published: December 11, 2015 6:23 pm
Stuart Easter, International Officer, The University of Edinburgh Stuart Easter, International Officer, The University of Edinburgh

Recently, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid said that his country is an ideal destination for Indian students to pursue higher education. No wonder Indians still prefer UK over many other foreign nations.

In this context, IndianExpress.Com spoke to Stuart Easter, International Officer, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland who tells why Indian students should prefer Scotland and what facilities they provide to the students. Excerpts:

What are the education opportunities in Scotland for Indian students?
Scotland has had over 600 years of higher education. The Scottish education system has been adopted in many countries all over the world and is therefore the basis for a variety of education systems including the United States and Hong Kong. Scotland has more world-class universities per head of population than anywhere else in the world.

Universities in Scotland have a long and successful relationship with a number of industries throughout the world. Interface was set up to make it even easier for businesses to access the technology and expertise.

Scotland’s universities are renowned around the world for their research excellence. The Scottish HE sector produces some of the world’s most cited research, for example; relative to its GDP, Scotland’s research is cited more often than that of any other country, and is second globally for citations per paper.

According to a data by WEF Global Competitiveness, the level of collaboration between universities and business in Scotland outstrips that in many other countries including the United States, Germany, Japan and Denmark with Scotland scoring 5.8 on an index of up to 7.

Academic research performance is judged at an international level and Scotland punches well above its weight. Scotland produces one per cent of the world’s research with less than 0.1 less than of the world’s population.

There is a great deal of concern over the fall in the number of Indian students opting for higher education in the UK after the post study work visa for international students was removed. How is the government taking care of this issue?
While there has been some decline in the number of Indian students coming to the UK since 2012, our universities are confident that we are still welcoming the brightest and the best from around the world, including India. In fact, nearly 1,500 Indian students were studying in Scottish universities in 2013/14 (last year that data is available) and this number is expected to rise when the next set of data is released in February 2016.
The PSW (Post-Study Work) was replaced with two post study routes for overseas students who wish to stay in the UK after graduating from our universities.

Students can opt to be sponsored by a UK company if they gain a job offer (over 4,000 overseas students took this opportunity last year) or students can pursue a start-up route, with an entrepreneurship visa being sponsored by their universities for a year after graduation.

What special facilities are provided to the Indian students?
The Scottish government runs the Saltire Scholarship scheme for Indian students, offering funding support of £2000 to up 200 students.
Additionally, each university has their own scholarship scheme, with hundreds of thousands of pounds available to Indian students. These scholarships are usually awarded on the basis of academic merit.

UK is an expensive country and therefore an average Indian finds hard to manage the expenses. How do you plan to make it affordable?
In Scotland, tuition fees can range from £9,000-20,000 per year, which is similar to the rest of UK, however living expenses are good value compared to the rest of the UK with students having an average annual spend of £7,000-10,000.
Each student coming to Scotland is entitled to work up to 20 hours part time per week. This provides many students with valuable work experience as well as a contribution towards their living costs.

What are the job opportunities for those passing out from Scotland universities?
Nine out of every 10 graduates go on to work or further study within six months of graduation. Graduates from Scotland’s universities also have the highest starting salaries in the UK.
While there is no automatic right to work in the UK after graduation (as there was previously under the Post Study Work scheme), there remains a strong employment market for overseas students, who are required to find an employer who will sponsor their work visa. There are currently (Nov 2015) over 29,000 businesses in the UK licensed to sponsor a Tier 2 work visa for overseas students.

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