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UK students least likely to complete internships

Michael Flanagan

Global report reveals less of an appetite from UK students to take on an internship, compared to their global counterparts. Comment from Michael Flanagan, Director of Estates and Facilities at University of Greenwich.

Sixty three percent of UK students are aware of their university careers service but have never used them, according to the new global student report by Sodexo. The best way university career services can help UK students is by posting job or internship listings – almost half (45 percent) said that this would have the most impact in helping them secure a job after graduation.

This is according to Sodexo’ first International University Lifestyle Survey. The report provides a unique insight into the lives and lifestyles of students across the world, polling over 4,000 students in six markets (the US, China, India, Spain and Italy, as well as the UK).

It is therefore surprising that only 21 percent have completed an internship, a significantly lower amount than their global counterparts – particularly in China where 67 percent have completed an internship to help them get a job after graduation, followed by India (54 percent) and Spain  (44 percent).

Compared to those in other countries, UK students are also less sure about their future careers, with 46 percent of UK students knowing what job they want to do following graduation compared to 66 percent in India, 60 percent in China and 54 percent in Spain and the US.  Unlike other countries, there is no gender divide here; an equal number of UK male and female students know what career they want after graduation.

The biggest concern for UK students is getting a job that interests them, with 42 percent expressing anxieties about this, whilst a third (32 percent) want to start work soon after graduating. Just 22 percent prioritised earning a high salary relatively quickly as one of their main career concerns, suggesting that UK students care more about the start date and type of job available to them, rather than the salary they will achieve.

UK students place most value on university facilities which support their relaxation and extra-curricular education, such as social facilities (38 percent) and societies and clubs (32 percent).

Michael Flanagan, Director of Estates and Facilities at University of Greenwich, comments: “The report suggests that UK students aren’t as career-focused as their global counterparts. At the University of Greenwich, employability is a strong focus.  We feel it is vitally important to connect students to business, to help our students get graduate level jobs, and to develop communications and ‘soft skills’ by creating learning spaces that reflect the modern workplace.

“It is a challenging and exciting time for universities and indeed careers services. Our students are smarter, more ambitious and more creative than ever before. As a result, we must continue to listen and to work with them to deliver flexible and forward-thinking solutions.”

Paul Anstey, CEO Schools and Universities for Sodexo UK & Ireland, added: “Sodexo’s first International University Lifestyle Survey provides a unique insight into the current lives and lifestyles of students across the world, and is incredibly valuable to ensure we continue to deliver services which contribute to the diverse needs of global students and ultimately improve their quality of life.

“Although the report has revealed that UK students are less focused on careers – compared to their global counterparts – it’s really encouraging to see that UK students are interested in the wider experience that university can offer, as well as the next step into the workplace.”

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