Call for 25,000 UK students to go to India

Thursday 13 November 2014


Greg Clark, Minister for Universities, Science and Cities has launched a new UK-wide campaign to support 25,000 UK students to go to India over the next five years.

The campaign, ‘Generation UK-India’,  aims to create a new generation of more globally, culturally and business aware young people, and will be managed by the British Council. Underlining the UK Government and universities’ ongoing commitment to promoting international opportunities to students across the UK, Generation UK-India will provide opportunities for UK students to either 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 at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry HE summit in Delhi, 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.”

Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities, said " Student Mobility programmes, such as the newly launched Generation UK- India, support internationalisation agenda of Indian universities aimed at promoting excellence and building deeper understanding of cultures between Indian and UK students."

The British Council is in discussions with businesses such as KPMG and BP who have expressed interest in supporting the scheme.

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.

“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” Lord Bilimoria added.

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." 

The 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. Simon Moore, the CBI’s International Director, said "The CBI is honoured to support the British Council’s exciting new ‘Generation UK-India’ project which is aimed at building the next generation of British talent through UK-India business partnerships. I hope that our member companies will also get involved in this worthy initiative.”

Anne Marie Graham, Head of the Go International Programme which is managed by the UK Higher Education International Unit commented “Generation UK-India is an invaluable opportunity for UK students to gain experience abroad.  The experience of studying, working or volunteering abroad whilst at University enhances the academic achievement of students whilst significantly improving their employment prospects. Despite this, too few UK students are getting the opportunity to go overseas. The UK HE sector is committed to changing this status quo and the Go International Programme is working in partnership with institutions across the UK to support them in their efforts.  Initiatives like Generation UK-India open up opportunities for our students and we strongly encourage UK students and institutions to get involved”.

In August 2014, 200 UK students took part in a two-week cultural immersion course in India, organised by the UKIERI Study India programme. Tom Wyke, 22, a History student from Queen Mary University of London, said "This programme really allows you to open the door into India in a very unique manner, something you can’t get by backpacking. It helps you to understand a little bit of the culture and get a feel for why it’s such a diverse and special place."

Sarah Al-Hussaini, 21, an Economics student from the University of Birmingham, said: Coming to India, which is such a booming economy and going to be such a global player in the next 20 or so years is pretty critical to my career and is really going to make me stand out from the crowd.

Zain Ali, 22, a Philosophy student from King’s College, London, said  “We’re coming into increasingly a smaller world and it’s more important than ever to show that you’re internationally capable so I think programmes like these are key for our future careers and to show that we can go beyond your average environment in the UK.”

Notes to Editor

Generation UK India website and

For More Information please contact Tim Sowula, Senior Press Officer, British Council 0207 389 4871

Videos promoting the programme:

1)     Generation UK-India: Gain experience and skills in India

Vox pops

1)     Generation UK-India: What will I gain from a work placement in India?

2)     Generation UK-India: What will I gain from a cultural immersion placement in India?

3)     Generation UK-India: What will I gain from a teaching assistantship in India?

4)     Generation UK-India: Why gain experience in India? Interview with Lord Bilimoria

Generation UK-India FAQs

What is Generation UK-India?

The British Council is working with partners to create a new large scale outward mobility programme called Generation UK-India starting in 2015-16. It aims to encourage up to 25,000 young people from the UK to gain professional and academic skills and experience in India over the next 5 years.

This programme will build on the successful Generation UK initiative in China and the UKIERI Study India programme and will align with the strategies of UK Government and universities to increase outward mobility among young people in the UK.

What will be the opportunities through Generation UK-India?

In the first year we will create the following opportunities:



Cultural Immersion placements


Two week residential summer placements offering participants the chance to experience study and work in India and engage with peers to build an understanding of and connection with India.

Potential audience: over 18s currently studying at FE or HE institutions.

Teaching Assistant placements


Teaching placements in Indian private schools teaching a range of subjects including English and offering participants the chance to develop their teaching skills and share knowledge about UK culture.

1)     Summer placements 2-3 months

2)     Longer placements 6 months

Potential audience: university students and graduates

Work placements


Facilitate work experience with Indian organisations to help the young participants prepare for 21st century careers and boost their employability.

Length of internships: 2-6 months, depending on the host organisations’ requirements

Potential audience: over 18 years old

What will be the benefits of Generation UK-India?

·         Greater number of UK young people undertaking study and work experience abroad supporting the strategies of the UK and devolved governments, as outlined in the July 2013 Government policy paper ‘International education strategy: global growth and prosperity’

·         Improved career prospects for young people by offering them international opportunities that will develop the skills and experience recognised by employers as vital to the success of businesses in a competitive global market.

·         An increasingly competitive UK workforce

·         Stronger links and partnerships built between the UK and India with increased understanding, engagement and trust

·         The creation of lasting connections and networks between programme participants and their counterparts in India that will be the basis for future collaboration

The British Council’s Trust Paysresearch has found that the probability that people around the world will enter into business relationships with the UK, study in the UK and visit the UK increases substantially as a result of sustained cultural interchange. Greater interaction between people from the UK and people from India through this programme will build long term trust and thus, benefit the UK.

Generation UK-India benefits for India include:

·         Increased awareness of India as a destination for UK young people to visit to study and work

·         Stronger links and partnerships built between the UK and India with increased understanding, engagement and trust

·         The creation of a network of talented and ambitious young people from the UK who will form a future workforce ready to work with India and Indian companies.

·         The development of lasting connections between Indians in the host institutions and programme participants from the UK that will be the basis for future collaboration

·         Increased probability that people from the UK will enter into business relationships with India, study in India and visit India again as a result of having spent a significant amount of time in the country.

·         Further internationalisation of Indian companies and academic institutions through hosting a participant from the UK.

How many young people from the UK currently study or work in India?

UNESCO data for those who chose to pursue a higher education degree in India record 86 UK students in 2012. This is compared to 8897 that went to USA, 3186 that went to France and 1532 who decided to study in Malaysia.

Using the UNESCO data to compare numbers of incoming students to India, the UK is ranked 38th in the list with Nepal the highest number of students studying in India (5481). 782 students from the USA study in India 782 but only 66 came from France and an even smaller number (18) came from Germany.

Currently there is not a large scale programme in the UK supporting outward mobility to India but there is great interest in the UK and Indian government’s UKIERI Study India programme each year. Last year Study India received almost 5000 applicants for 200 places. Outward mobility is also a priority for the UK governments and academic institutions across the country and there is a particular focus on building this outside Europe.

Raising awareness of the opportunities available and the benefits that can be gained by a placement in India as well as creating flexible and accessible options for applicants will help us to persuade young people to go to India.

Who is eligible for the Generation UK-India opportunities?

The opportunities offered through the British Council will all be open to UK nationals over 18 year old. We don’t plan to have an upper age limit, however opportunities will be targeted at young people and professionals in the UK as our main objective is to increase employability in the UK workforce and especially amongst people just starting out on their careers. Each strand will have specific eligibility criteria which are to be defined.

Are there opportunities for post-graduate students?

At present we are investigating specific options for postgraduate students but there will be some opportunities available for post-graduate students as they will be eligible for the internships and the teaching assistantships.

What will the application process be and how will the students be shortlisted?

Online applications for teaching assistants and cultural immersion placements will launch on our website from January 2014 on . The deadline for applications will be end of February 2015. There will then be eligibility and quality checks which may include face to face interviews or assessment days. Work placement applications will be announced as they become available and applications will vary dependent on the host organisation.

What are the costs for young people wanting to apply?

We ask all participants to cover the following costs:

·         Flights

·         Visa

·         Insurance

·         Vaccinations

·         Teaching assistants will also need to pay a placement fee of £200 and cover a criminal record check.

What will the programme participants receive in return?

Work placements and teaching placements will receive:

·         Accommodation

·         Contribution towards food and travel

Each host organisation will offer a slightly different package taking into account visa restrictions.

Cultural Immersion participants will have accommodation and meals covered during their placement.

Pre-departure and arrival briefings as well as a helpdesk will be available to all applicants.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. 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 7,000 staff – including 2,000 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 was £781m in 2012/13. 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: You can also keep in touch with the British Council through and