by Simon Collins, Acting Head of Widening Access and Student Success, University of Hertfordshire

The University of Hertfordshire (UH) and their Herts Success WP programme are launching a social mobility partnership with the British Council. This new pilot initiative, launched exclusively for Herts Success students, will help improve social mobility and graduate employability.
What’s Herts Success?

Herts Success is UH’s student success and retention programme, delivered by the University’s Outreach and Widening Participation Department. It’s aimed at WP students from low-income backgrounds and low-participation neighbourhoods.

In an effort to better support students’ employability and provide opportunities that otherwise might be unobtainable, Herts Success and the British Council have announced a new partnership supporting the University’s agenda to improve social mobility. As part of the British Council’s Generation UK – China campaign, the pilot programme will provide 8-week internships in Qingdao and Chengdu, China for 10 Herts Success students this summer.

What’s it all about?
In a fast-paced and globalised world, we must look outward, especially in light of the recent political change in the West. Companies across the world continue to engage with China and greater emphasis is placed on graduates having international experience. As new industries and opportunities are created, developing a connection with China will help Herts Success students stand out from the crowd in future job applications.
Generation UK – China was launched by the British Council in 2013. By 2020, it aims to help 80,000 students from the UK boost their employability, enhance their long-term job prospects, and develop a global mind-set through study and work experience opportunities in China.
The British Council has a strategic partnership with InternChina, giving them access to a wide range of companies with opportunities across many sectors, including IT, legal, marketing, accounting, pharmaceuticals, hospitality and tourism.

Why China? What’s in it for our students?
Universities are paying greater attention to the international experience of their students and there is strong evidence that student outcomes (both academic and employability-related) are considerably improved amongst those that study or work abroad (National Centre for Universities and Business, 2017). The partnership with The British Council capitalises on this. Our students will get an inside view of Chinese culture and business practice and begin to unpick the similarities and differences between China and the UK. As the job market becomes more competitive, the experience of Herts Students on the Generation UK-China Programme will make them stand out from their peers.
Steven Hutt (Head of Outward Mobility, British Council) says:
“We are delighted to be a partner in the Herts Success initiative, which will enable students at the University of Hertfordshire to gain international work experience in China, one of the world’s most exciting markets. In doing so, the initiative will boost the social mobility and employability of some of the UK’s most talented students, thereby enabling them to pursue exciting and fulfilling careers. This is a shared ambition that sits at the heart of our Generation UK – China campaign, and we are excited to be working with the University of Hertfordshire in making it a reality.”

We are excited to see this pilot programme take off and hope that we can build on the strong relationship established between UH and The British Council.

For more information and to obtain a copy of the final report, email Simon.

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