The British Council has launched a new version of the popular Education UK website in order to build on its successful promotion and marketing of UK education providers operating in the UK and abroad.
In a highly competitive market, the UK is the second most attractive destination for international students worldwide. Each year, close to 500,000 students come to the UK to study at a boarding school, college or university, and an estimated 600,000 come for a short English language course. The reputation of the UK’s education sector is so strong that, in 2011-12, an additional 571,000 students chose to take a UK course outside of the UK – for example by taking an online course or by joining a UK campus located overseas.
International students and have helped the UK become a world leader in research and innovation. The UK Government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills estimates that, in 2011, education exports were worth £17.5bn to the UK economy.
The British Council’s Education UK website is the number one resource to promote UK education to international students. It attracts 2.2 million unique visitors each year and offers advice and resources to help students find suitable UK courses and scholarships. As international competition grows for globally mobile students, the British Council has re-designed the website and added significant enhancements in order to better present all that the UK education sector has to offer.
The new resource was presented at today’s launch of the UK Government’s International Education Strategy, setting out policies to strengthen the UK’s position in the second largest sector in the world after healthcare.
Dr Jo Beall, British Council Director of Education and Society, said “The Education UK brand and services have had great success around the world in ensuring that ambitious students are aware of the first class reputation the UK enjoys. However, our research suggests that the global boom in international students will plateau, and the UK is already experiencing a decline in certain key sectors. As students are becoming more savvy and the market more competitive, the UK can’t afford to rest on its laurels, so we decided to revamp our digital offer to build on its success and use the latest innovations to give students all the information they need to help them in their decision making to come to the UK.”
On the site, students can browse through articles, films and student stories, and find out how a UK education will help them achieve their dreams. They can also get advice on choosing a course, booking accommodation and much more, plus they can find out about student life in the UK.
The ‘Find your UK education’ tool lists over 100,000 UK courses and scholarships. The intelligent search filter means students can conduct a broad search, or pin-point exactly what they are looking for. Students can also download prospectuses and contact education centres directly. The new website has been produced by Hotcourses for the British Council after five months of intensive development.
The new developments to the site include:
Enhanced course and scholarship search tool – students will be able to find their dream course much more easily, helping to drive enquiries to UK schools, colleges, universities and language centres.
Investment in inspiring content – based on our research, we want to show that the UK offers not only a great academic experience but also a great adventure, enabling students to discover the UK’s unique countryside, cities and culture. We have therefore added a ‘Why choose the UK?’ section which sets our clearly the key benefits a UK education offers to students, backed up by entertaining articles, films and real examples of academic excellence and innovation from UK institutions.
Better advice to students – for three reasons: for the sake of the students, for our reputation overseas, and so that students do not get frustrated in planning their studies and choose to go elsewhere. Accordingly, we have completely overhauled all of the articles on the site, and taken advice from across the education sector, so we are confident that our content is now far more student-friendly.
Social media integration – social media is central to our marketing and student outreach work. The new site will integrate with the new Education UK global Facebook page and Q&A app. As a result, students will be able to ask their burning questions and receive answers from our team directly via the site, providing them with a warm first impression of UK education. Students will also be able to like and share stories via their preferred social media channels.
To follow in later phases of the site’s development (which is a continuous programme of improvement):
Mobile and tablet access – more and more students are browsing the site via mobile phones and tablets. The new site provides a better user experience across all devices, helping us to provide a better service to students. Fully responsive designs for mobile and tablet will also be launched as part of future development work.
Transnational education (TNE) course search – each year, around 570,000 students worldwide study on a UK course delivered outside of the UK - e.g. at an overseas campus, online or through a partner institution. The TNE market is growing fast and offers a real opportunity to the UK education sector. The new site will allow students to search for UK TNE qualifications in selected countries.
Education agent promotion – agents play a key role in student recruitment. Students will be able to find reputable agents in their country.