The Placement Experience of International Students

Dr Marcellus Mbah, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in CEL recently presented the results of a study he carried out with Kelly Goodwin on the placement experience of international students. The workshop was organised by the Employability, Enterprise and Work-based Learning Network of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) and drew participants from more than twenty different universities in the UK. The study which was funded by the CEL Fusion Investment Fund was conducted against the backdrop of the UK losing its competitive edge for new international students according to a recent British Council report. The growing cost of higher education has seen international students increasingly seeking return to investment and particularly in the form of employment after completion of studies. A 2013 survey of 1,100 students across Asia and Middle East carried out by IDP Education and reported by Universities UK asserts that the UK was rated lowest in terms of perceived graduate employment opportunities amongst five main English-speaking destinations. In order to regain its competitive edge in the global market share of international students, the Higher Education Sector in the UK have to be perceived amongst other factors as actively fostering the employability of international graduates. This means that several international students will need to take on a work placement and gain relevant skills as they aspire to secure work in a global economy. In order to achieve this effectively and sustainably, there is a need to examine and enhance the placement experience of international students. Drawing on a survey conducted with 41 international students and focus group discussion, the presentation at the SRHE workshop advanced a support framework which can improve the placement experience of international students and increase their prospect for employment post-graduation. The slides of the presentation can be downloaded from the Event page of the Employability, Enterprise and Work-based Learning Network of SRHE.

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