Speaking at a seminar on international admission and employment in London on 13 May, employment experts suggested that UK institutions should look at Europe in a new context after Brexit and, for EU students, the loss of housing status and access to British credit.
The visa route for graduates is “not very well understood in the European context,” said Nancy Cook, deputy director for international development.Salford University offered at an event organized by Cambridge Assessment and Ecctis.
“How can we, as an institution, actually convey to students what our proposal is?” She asked. “Working internationally, we have always had a fantastic scholarship program for international students. I don’t think we did a good job of communicating this to European students. “
“We are particularly concerned about doctoral studies”
To continue to succeed in post-Brexit Europe, institutions need to focus on three areas, she suggested.
Along with employment and funding opportunities, universities need to work with their local regions to establish connections with the continent.
Former UK University Minister Chris Skidmar has also called for a regional international educational strategies with area champions. He made the remarks on May 12 at an event that is reviving efforts to create a “London brand” for international education.
By working with regional partners, institutions can strengthen their relations in Europe, Nancy said.
“For example, in Greater Manchester we were very lucky. We have a united government, we have a mayor who is really interested in international and European relations. We have a kind of international strategy for our region, so it actually opens up more opportunities, ”she said.
A signed a strategic partnership between Greater Manchester and the Ruhr metropolis, part of North Rhine-Westphalia, in September 2021 aims to strengthen business, trade, cultural and educational ties. “Youth mobility is really key in this [agreement] too, ”Cook said.
Speakers also said that Europe should be seen as a set of small regions and not as one big market.
“It’s so important to think about countries, not think about Europe as a whole,” said the deputy head of the recruitment department (international) at Cambridge Universitysaid Roshan Walkerley. Ireland and Portugal were strong for the institution, but “some other markets were very complex”. Irish students still have access to payment at home.
Success also varied at different levels of training, he added. “We are particularly concerned about doctoral studies – this is one of the few areas where we are looking for some growth.”
“The UK is fully flying at the moment. I think we can be proud of what we can offer as institutions, including in Europe, ”said Justin Wood. Coventry University said.
Following the UK referendum in the EU in 2016, Coventry acknowledged that “there will never be the same level of income and fees from Europe,” Wood said.
To mitigate the decline, the university “really sought to give as many European undergraduate students as possible the opportunity to study” and undertook a “truly aggressive expansion” in five countries: Portugal; Romania; Lithuania; Poland; and Bulgaria.
This allowed the institution to have a “huge set of students” who could become the best ambassadors. “I think this is the story of the UK. If I took away one thing, the first thing I would take away was to really use your alumni and the existing student body and celebrate the European presence, ”Wood said.
Coventry used and expanded its campus in London and offered, as well as a campus in Poland, to maintain attractiveness for EU students, he continued. The Wroclaw campus allowed the institution to contact an industrial base in Poland. “It also inadvertently put us in a really strong position to respond to the crisis in Ukraine,” he added.
«[London] it is still a global city with a real appeal, ”he said. «[We also] used data and insight to figure out where Coventry fits … and figure out where [we] valued and distinctive. “
«[It was also about] understanding areas where colleagues from RG universities may not be able to meet the needs of students in areas such as hospitality, leisure and sports, some STEM subjects where truly practical hands on professional orientation and industry links can help give them something different ”.
Institutes are also looking for international students outside of Europe, but the continent is “definitely contributing” to diversity initiatives.
“I’m really proud to have grown exponentially … over the last three years,” Wood said. “But we all know what this growth is all about,” he added, referring to non-EU countries, such as India and China.
“The diversity agenda is very important, and that’s why the EU is really important, because if you have an area where there is a drop in numbers, you want to do more work to raise it,” Cook said.
Europe is an important source for academically gifted students – the owners of Abitur and the French Bachelor are “very attractive” to Cambridge Colleges, Walkerley said.
He offered to work together to show the “strength and diversity” of the UK’s proposals to reach students from the EU, he suggested, especially when visiting international schools.
“Individual visits to the institution are really difficult to facilitate”
“We know that international schools attend and hear from us and universities in the US, Canada, Australia and everywhere. Individual visits to the institution are really difficult to facilitate. “
Cambridge is one of 10 university groups that traveled in March to visit international schools, he said. However, institutions are looking for new regions.
“As our European numbers are really declining … for example, on the part of graduate students, we are starting to work more in Latin America, a region where we were not very active about 18 months ago,” Walkerley said.
Highly selective institutions, such as Cambridge, see a renewed “real struggle for space,” he continued.
“We are focused on expanding participation, increasing our percentage of UK public school students. And all this is facing increased demand for international students. I think this would be a real challenge for many competitive universities. For those who do not have the opportunity to grow in the next few years, [it’ll be interesting to see] how this balance is formed between the UK and the international student order ”.