Tuesday 11 March 2014


100,000 international opportunities for young people welcomed by The Prince of Wales

100,000 young people in the UK will have the opportunity to work or study overseas over the next three years, under plans announced by the British Council at a reception to celebrate the organisation's 80th birthday today.

The event was attended by HRH The Prince of Wales, Vice-Patron of the British Council for 30 years, and marks the start of a new drive to encourage the UK’s young people to gain more international skills and experience.  Research with UK businesses identifies gaining greater confidence and skills to work globally as crucial for improving young people’s employability and the UK’s overall global economic competitiveness.

HRH The Prince of Wales told guests at the reception: “The British Council brings so many people to the UK from around the world who we hope develop a love and interest in this country. I’m so pleased that you will be able to provide opportunities for 100,000 young people to be able to have mind broadening and horizon broadening experiences in different parts of the world.For that I can only salute the British Council.”

The opportunities offered through the British Council include large-scale university student exchange schemes such as the EU-funded Eramus+ programme, thousands of jobs working as an English-language teaching assistant in up to 13 countries, and a new programme in China that offers academic scholarships for up to a year, and two month funded internships with top companies.

Sir Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: “The British Council is offering 100,000 young people the opportunity to study or work abroad over the next three years.  For the UK to prosper in the global economy, we need our young people to have the experience of living in another country and learning its language. The CBI and British Chambers of Commerce tell us that the UK’s long term economic prospects in part depend on more young Brits having the ‘cultural fluency’ to work well in international businesses.

“The window is open for our young people to get the international skills they need, from spending part of their degree studying in a European city, to teaching English in Latin America or working as a intern for a top company in Shanghai.” 

Neil Carberry, CBI director for employment and skills policy said: “In the modern, global economy it’s vital that our young people have the skills, experience and determination to compete internationally. Studying or taking up a job overseas through schemes like the British Council’s can broaden horizons and expose young people to different cultures, languages and working practices that can only help them in their future careers.”

In partnership with a range of other organisations over 30,000 opportunities will be available in 2014/15 for young people to apply for across 86 countries. Details listed can be found on the British Council’s dedicated ‘Study Work Create’ website. All of the opportunities available through the British Council come with funding, provided by the EU, national governments, businesses or the British Council itself.

Notes to Editor

For more information, please contact Tim Sowula, on 0207 389 4871 or tim.sowula@britishcouncil.org or Rowan Kennedy on 0207 3894994 or rowan.kennedy@britishcouncil.org  

For more information about The Prince of Wales, please visit www.princeofwales.gov.uk

The British Council’s Study Work Create website is: http://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create

A breakdown of the overseas opportunities currently available through the British Council and forecast for the next three years: 


British Council-managed programme
















Language Assistants (Thailand)






Language Assistants






Artists' International Development Fund






IAESTE  (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience)






Study USA






Gen UK China






UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI SIP)











Erasmus+ is an EU-wide programme for mobility and partnership in Education, Training, Youth and Sport. The British Council is the UK National Agency for Erasmus+ in partnership with Ecorys UK. 

The British Council leads on the Higher Education, Schools and Youth fields in Erasmus+, while Ecorys UK leads on the Vocational Education and Training and Adult education fields.  The figures in the table above show the numbers for the British Council managed elements only

Examples of some of the opportunities available

Spend a year studying in Florida on a full scholarship

The Study USA programme allows students from Northern Ireland to spend one academic year in the USA. Undergraduates from any academic discipline can choose from one hundred private Universities and Colleges across the USA, in states such as New York, Florida and California. Scholarships cover students’ flights, accommodation and tuition. The programme funds up to 80 students, and the deadline is in November. This year Study USA celebrates its 20th anniversary and has over 1800 alumni.

Spend a year living on a tropical island

Located in the Indian Ocean just East of Madagascar, the picturesque island of Réunion is an overseas département of France. Students can apply to spend up to a year studying in the capital, Saint-Denis, on the Erasmus+ programme – which will secure them a place at the local university and provide a grant of up to  €400 per month.

Spend your summer or winter in Thailand

UK students are eligible to participate in the Thailand English Teaching Programme. Participants can live and work in the ‘land of smiles’ for two months as a language assistant to a Thai teacher supporting the teaching of English in schools. Over 300 participants will be based in provinces across Thailand after receiving a full orientation in Bangkok. The nine weeks of teaching (up to 18 weeks in the winter) will include two long weekend breaks for assistants to travel within Thailand and explore its unique culture and natural beauty. Accommodation is provided and assistants will receive a monthly stipend for their work.

Spend a summer in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is Asia’s world city, a place where East meets West, blending Chinese and Western cultures.  Competition Hong Kong gives five UK sixth form students the chance to experience this diverse and exciting city this summer. Students will have the opportunity to study a summer course for high school students at a Hong Kong university. The competition covers return air fares, tuition fees and accommodation.

Intern with a top company in Shanghai

China is now predicted to be the world’s biggest economy by 2016 - and we want UK students to be part of it. Students and graduates can gain a competitive edge in the job market when they undertake an internship or study placement in mainland China with Generation UK. Funding support is offered for two month internships at companies across six major Chinese cities, with a wide range of industries to choose from. Academic scholarships allow for up to one year of study at universities across mainland China. Generation UK allows for valuable work or study experience in China as well as a chance to be immersed in one of the world’s most dynamic economies and fascinating cultures.

Develop your performance in New York

A chance to showcase your artistry overseas and make international connections can be a desire for many UK artists. Through the Artists’ International Development Fund, the British Council and Arts Council England fund grants for artists, creative producers, curators and editors to kick start new projects, develop their experience and create new collaborations. The programme helps artists build connections with other artists, organisations and/or producers abroad with grants of £1000 - £5000. Recent awards include a project linking carnival in the UK and Rio in the run up to the 2016 Olympics, a giant scroll bridging an artist’s shared heritage of Burma and Bangladesh and an exploration of fashion trends as they reflect social and political history in Slovakia, amongst many others. 

Spend a year teaching English in Buenos Aires

English Language Assistants support the teaching of English in a school or university overseas. The programme, with a legacy dating back to 1905, spans four continents, every year placing over 2,500 students and graduates in 14 countries. Some of these are exotic, far-flung locations in Latin America whilst others are closer to home in Europe. They all have fascinating cultures and inspiring opportunities to increase participants’ confidence and give them the edge to compete in a global job market.

Assistants work up to 20 hours a week and will be paid for it, while the rest of the time is free to engage with their local surroundings and integrate in to the local community.’

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.

We work in more than 100 countries and our 7000 staff – including 2000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the Arts and delivering education and society programmes.

We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publically-funded grant provides less than 25 per cent of our turnover which last year was £781m. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

For more information, please visit: www.britishcouncil.org. You can also keep in touch with the British Council through http://twitter.com/britishcouncil and http://blog.britishcouncil.org/.