James Pitman is Study Group’s Managing Director of Development for UK and Europe. James is also the Chair of Exporting Education UK and Vice-Chair of Independent Higher Education. During the 1990s, James held a variety of senior international roles, including those of Vice President of International Marketing and Vice President of Operations and Business Development with Warner Music International and EMI Music. This followed eight years in international education publishing. James has a BA(Hons) and MA from Cambridge University in Natural Sciences and a MBA from IMD in Switzerland.
The furlough scheme by the UK government was a saviour for millions of people during the pandemic. Those who couldn’t work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them were paid a monthly limit of up to £2,500. At first, the UK government paid 80% of the wages, but in August and September, it paid 60%, with employers paying 20%. Now, with the economy reopening and the furlough scheme starting to phase out, the country’s jobs market is undergoing a robust rebound. In fact, job vacancies have hit a record high of 953,000 in the three months to July.
However, there are record numbers of unfilled jobs in sectors such as entertainment, accommodation, and food, highlighting the lack of skilled workforce in the UK. There is an increase in demand for the right talent. As per the latest jobs report by KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), while there is a high demand for employees in sectors like IT and computing, hotel and catering sector too are witnessing the steepest increase in demand for short-term staff at the end of the third quarter. The report also identified that the shortage of labour led to a significant jump in salaries being offered.
Active international students currently pursuing their courses in the country or have successfully completed an undergraduate or master’s degree are all set to fill this skilled workforce gap. They can benefit from the two years’ work experience in the UK upon graduation through the newly-introduced Graduate Route Visa. The visa allows international graduates to apply for the right to stay on for job experience at the end of their university courses. Indian students can make the most of this route during this high job vacancy period in the UK as they are known to choose their degree courses based on the prospect of work experience. Moreover, it will also provide them the flexibility to apply for jobs in any sector or role that fits their skills profile, including self-employment without any employer sponsorship.
Jobs opportunities haven’t been the only factor attracting Indian students to the UK. The country tops the list of many as the most preferred destinations for its reputed and highly renowned universities and educational institutions like Oxford, Cambridge, The university of Edinburgh, King’s College, London School of Economics, University of Sheffield, University of Sussex, University of Huddersfield and many more. Graduating from these popular universities can surely ramp up your resume and build meaningful careers with well-known firms and organizations.
Financial assistance is also one of the many significant reasons for Indian students to choose the UK for their higher education. The country grants numerous scholarships to the students showing excellent academic performance but belong to economically weak backgrounds. Erasmus Mundus Scholarship, Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarships, and British Chevening Scholarships are some of the noteworthy scholarships Indian students can apply for and make their higher education in the country affordable.
Health benefits are yet another notable reason for Indian students to study in the UK. Once they enrol for a full-time course or program in any university, they become eligible to receive free medical treatment from the NHS (National Health Services). In fact, their spouse or partner and dependent children are also eligible to receive this health benefit.
The unprecedented COVID-19 outbreak and the prolonged lockdowns that led to travel restrictions and border shutdowns may have dampened the spirit of Indian students for a while. Still, it did not stop them from losing their focus from aspiring to study in the UK. After all, the country still stands strong in being considered a land of opportunities.