What is Generation UK?


Generation UK was launched by the British Council in 2013. By 2020, it aims to help 80,000 students from the UK boost their employability, enhance their long-term job prospects, and develop a global mind-set through study and work experience opportunities in China.

The Generation UK campaign is supported by all four UK government administrations. We have secured a commitment from the Department for Education to double funding support for 2018/19. This support will give twice as many young people from disadvantaged and less represented backgrounds the opportunity to take up internships in China from 2018.


The health, welfare and safety of programme participants and staff is our priority. 

We have therefore suspended the Generation UK internship programmes until further notice.

We continue to monitor the situation in China and intend to resume programme activity once it is safe to do so, acting on advice of health authorities, as well that of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and World Health Organisation.

Programme objectives

  • To create more opportunities for UK students to gain international experience by engaging with China – the world’s largest growing economy – through study and work placements
  • To support UK institutions by creating opportunities for UK students to go abroad, and forming direct links with institutions and companies globally
  • To support the UK government’s agenda by promoting outward student mobility to foster the UK’s competitiveness and develop a new generation of globally mobile, culturally agile young people who can succeed and compete in an increasingly international business environment
  • To build trust, understanding and mutually rewarding relationships between organisations and individuals in the UK and China

What is on offer for academic institutions in the UK?

Generation  UK  has  developed  partnerships  with  several UK  higher  education  institutions,  with  bespoke  internship  programmes  aligned  with  their  plans  to  improve  access  and  widen  participation  among  their  student  cohorts.

These  bespoke  programmes  are  funded  entirely  by  the  universities.  This  provides  the  UK  higher  education  sector  with  a  sustainable  and  replicable  model  to  boost  student  mobility  to  China,  contributing  to  the  UK’s  Strategy  for  Outward  Mobility,  which  aims  to  double  the  percentage  of  UK-domiciled,  full-time,  first-degree  university  students  who  take  international  placements  as  part  of  their  degree  to  13  per  cent  by  2020.

If you would like to find out more about our bespoke partnerships with UK higher education institutions, please contact the team at gen.uk@britishcouncil.org.cn 

What is on offer for young people in the UK?

We offer funding support for British students enrolled at UK universities (or recent graduates) to engage with China through scholarships for academic study and internships.

This opportunity is open to UK students and recent graduates. Funding support for this opportunity is focused on students from low-income backgrounds and further eligibility criteria apply. To find out more about this opportunity, please visit this opportunity’s page.

If you are a higher education institution and would like further resources to promote this opportunity to students, please get in touch with the team at gen.uk@britishcouncil.org.cn  

We encourage young people to engage with China by:

  • Highlighting the benefits of gaining study or work experience in China
  • Offering advice and guidance to individuals interested in pursuing opportunities in China
  • Creating a wider network of British professionals and programme alumni to engage with China by sharing experiences through online dialogue and a series of events in the UK

Generation UK so far

Since the launch of the Generation UK campaign in 2013, more than 67,000 young people from the UK have participated in study, internship and teaching programmes across China. It is the most significant such student mobility campaign beyond the EU. By 2020, the campaign aims for this number to reach a cumulative total of 80,000.  

Generation UK is working to provide a growing number of opportunities for young people from the UK to experience, understand and engage with China, as well as raising students’ awareness of the benefits of doing so. In 2019, approximately 12,000 young UK nationals gained experience in China, a 100 per cent increase on numbers prior to the launch of the campaign.

We have established partnerships with a wide range of UK and Chinese universities, and assisted in developing bespoke programmes as part of an initiative to help businesses support their young talent and future leaders to engage with and understand China.  

Generation UK is also committed to widening participation by providing funded opportunities to those who would not normally have access or the financial means to undertake an internship or study programme in China. Through our programmes, students are able to gain international work experience that is either related to what they are studying at university or their future career aspirations to help boost their cultural understanding and employment prospects.

As part of the campaign’s legacy, we have created a network of programme alumni, as well as wider young and experienced professionals in China related fields. The network ensures on-going engagement with China and provides a platform for alumni to share experiences, discuss issues and stay up to date with the latest trends and opportunities in China. We host bi-annual events in the UK and work with partners to provide a range of opportunities for members to deepen their China connection.

How to get involved

To receive support from the Generation UK team please contact gen.uk@britishcouncil.org.cn

Young people and professionals wishing to participate in Generation UK should visit our China opportunity page

External links