14 November 2014

A new UK-wide campaign managed by the British Council will support 25,000 UK students to take up placements in India over the next five years. 

Announced by Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities, ‘Generation UK-India’ aims to create a generation of more globally, culturally and business aware young people. 

The British Council is working with partners to provide opportunities for UK students to work as teaching assistants in Indian schools, gain work experience at top Indian companies, or go on specially organised cultural immersion courses. The first Generation UK-India placements will begin in summer 2015. 

Speaking about the campaign, Greg Clark said “It’s great news that over the next five years up to 25,000 young people will get to experience student and working life India. This programme will help create a more globally competitive UK workforce and will help future proof the UK-India relationship.”

This new large scale outward mobility programme builds on the successful Generation UK initiative in China and the UKIERI Study India programme, and supports government and university commitment to promoting international opportunities to UK students.

A CBI/Pearson 2014 Education and Skills survey found that almost two thirds (63%) of UK employers were not satisfied with school or college leavers’ international cultural awareness. Rob Lynes, Director of the British Council in India, said "Student mobility is a proven means of building long lasting ties between nations, but currently the UK welcomes around 300 Indian students for every British student going to India. That imbalance needs to be addressed. India is poised to be the third largest economy in the world, and we want to give many more young British people the chance to get a better experience of modern India, and the opportunity to gain a more global mindset." 

Lord Bilimoria, Founding Chairman of the UK-India Business Council, and a programme champion of Generation UK-India, commented “The world is getting more integrated, more inter-connected, more interdependent. And in that sort of a world you’ve got to be open minded, world aware, outward looking. Britain has always been a trading nation. Britain has always been an open nation, Britain is one of the most open economies in the world. So we need our students to go out, and experience the world and experience countries like India. That’s going to help our students better themselves, become more competitive and give them the huge advantage in life, which gives Britain a huge advantage.”

He added “For a youngster from the UK to go to India is a transformational experience, it’s an eye opening experience to actually on the ground witness, experience India’s buzz, energy and economy going forward in leaps and bounds with all its challenges is a life changing experience for a young person from Britain.” 

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