We look at how many international students make up the UK sector and the economic impact of international students in different regions.
Peter Scully and Kerry Shaw | 11th July 2019
The UK’s tertiary-education sector is both extensive and diverse, however, there is one factor which unites its various institutions and that is that they are able to develop their students to global standards. What’s more, they are able to do so in a very cost-effective manner.
It’s therefore little wonder that each year sees high demand for places at UK universities, not just from young people in the UK but from young people across the world. In short, Brexit or no Brexit, the UK’s tertiary education sector continues to flourish, but its long-term future depends on the provision of high-quality student property, the demand for which is only set to grow in 2019 - and beyond.
While it is questionable whether or not any political party will raise the minimum school-leaving age to 18 (which has been suggested), there has long been concern over the issue of NEETs (young people who are Not in Employment, Education or Training). The government’s drive to promote modern apprenticeships has undoubtedly helped to improve the situation of young people who either don’t get the grades for university or who, for whatever reason, do not wish to go (directly) to university.
It has not, however, reduced the demand for university places as today’s generation of young people (and their parents) tend to be only too aware of the fact that the modern world demands modern skills and that universities tend to be very good places to get them. In fact, in some cases, they may be the only places to get them.
The need to “skill up” is far from unique to the UK. Young people around the world know that getting a great education at the beginning of their “young adult” years will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives. In fact, there is now a strong case for arguing that it is now essential for anyone who wishes to have a meaningful career.
Not only does the UK offer an excellent education at a reasonable price (compared to universities of equivalent standard across the world), but UK universities teach in English, which means that students from English-speaking countries (especially the U.S.) feel right at home and students from non-English-speaking countries can use their time in the U.K. to hone their language skills, which may also be essential to them in their home countries (as well as opening up opportunities for them across the world).
Students from the UK (and currently the EU), have full access to the UK’s robust job market. What really makes the UK very different from many other countries (including the U.S.) is that full-time students from outside the EU already have the automatic right to work in any job they choose, albeit limited to 16 hours per week during term time.
They also have the right to work in the UK for a short period after their studies and there is currently a White Paper, which proposes to make it easier for international graduates to work in the UK after their studies. If it becomes law, it is likely to make the UK significantly more competitive in the global educational marketplace.