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Two British Council reports: Next generation UK and The global skills gap

Next generation UK. British Council, London, 2011. Pages: 103.
The global skills gap. British Council, London, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-900109-43-7. Pages: 12.

The British Council has recently presented two reports that are meant to shed light on how the global skills of UK students meet the related demands of British business employers. Together with the education charity Think Global, the British Council commissioned the Next generation UK research to investigate the opportunities and challenges, motivations and barriers of UK undergraduates with regard to international engagement, including labour and student mobility. Conducted by YouGov, the research features a literature review, findings from four focus groups and data from a 1 000-person survey of UK university undergraduates. The survey shows that students generally fail to see the potential career advantages to be gained from international experiences. Thus, their expectations for international engagement relate to benefits such as making new friends, having different cultural experiences or doing good in the world’, rather than future employment prospects. Less than one fifth of respondents said they had done, or definitely planned to work, study or volunteer abroad.

These findings are complemented by the results of another report titled The global skills gap, which focuses on the opinions of business leaders. ICM Research, on behalf of Think Global and the British Council, analysed the extent to which business leaders see “global thinking” as an important skill amongst employees and potential recruits. In particular, 74% of the 500 business leaders polled worried that young people's horizons are not broad enough to operate in a globalised and multicultural economy. Most of them believe in the need to help young people develop the ability to think globally at school. In recruiting new employees, more employers (79%) say knowledge and awareness of the wider world is important than those who say degree subject and classification (74%), A-level results (68%), or A-level subjects (63%) are essential.

Next Generation UK Global Skills Gap