Amid increasing numbers of graduates who are being forced to work in low-skilled jobs, the British Council has said that spending time abroad is fast becoming a “must-have” for a student’s CV.
Scottish students in particular are acting on the British Council’s advice, with figures released by the institution showing that between 2007-8 and 2011-12, the number of students studying in Scotland who participated in the Erasmus scheme increased dramatically from 1,354 to 1,866.
Erasmus is the European Union’s flagship educational exchange programme and has been managed in the UK by the British Council since 2007.
The figures show a substantial rise of almost 40%, demonstrating that students are increasingly of the belief that studying or working overseas can up the chances of finding a job post-graduation.
Lloyd Anderson, director of British Council Scotland, said: “The numbers of young Scots taking part in Erasmus has flourished since the British Council took over the running of the programme.
“What’s particularly striking is the dramatic rise of young people choosing to work abroad for their Erasmus experience.
“This probably reflects the fact that young people are increasingly seeing a stint working in another country as a must-have for their CVs.”
And Graeme Kirkpatrick, vice president of the National Union of Students in Scotland, said that employers have recognised the importance of skills gained from studying or working overseas.
According to research by Scotland Goes Global, almost two thirds of the Scottish-based employers surveyed thought that studying abroad was a sure-fire way to improve applicants’ employment prospects.
A similar number believed that having students study abroad boosted their company’s global competitiveness.
If your course does not offer you the opportunity to go abroad, or if you have graduated without having completed a stint abroad, don’t panic – you can always take a post-university gap year.