It’s been a cracking week for “Brand Britain” on television screens worldwide. First Hazza and Meghan, then Gareth Bale.
The flying Welshman turned heads around the globe for his wondergoal in the Champions League Final, playing for his non-English club of Real Madrid. It’s rare that British players like him play overseas – but look at his record. He now has three or four European Cups to his name, I’ve lost count. He wouldn’t have been so successful staying in England (sorry, Spurs fans).
Of course, we can’t all play for Madrid, but we can choose to work abroad, and if you’re young and up for it, there are few better destinations than China at the moment. (Of course, if you’re a top-draw footballer, you can consider China too – the money is good.)
The British Council recognises this, starting a programme to encourage young Brits to engage with China: Generation UK. Since the campaign was launched in 2013 (the year I left China, ironically), more than 40,000 young people have come to China, to either study or undertake internship placements.
In 2017 alone, there were 10,000 students in China – up 70 percent on the number before the start of the campaign. Impressive. But the campaign is targeting a cumulative total of 80,000 by 2020, and to continue the momentum the British Council has lately been promoting the campaign in Westminster:
Delighted to represent @SussexUni at tonight's @BritishCouncil reception on #GenUKChina campaign. 80 Sussex first generation university students heading out next month with @CarmaChina to discover China is core curriculum for 21st century @amSkipper2001 @IntPartnerships https://t.co/n0P1I9NWDN
— Richard Follett (@rfollettsussex) May 23, 2018
As part of this advocacy drive, a digital toolkit was launched to help UK MPs raise awareness about the benefits of engaging with China and encourage local unis, businesses and youth organisations to get involved in the campaign.
The toolkit includes an overarching campaign report with key facts, Twitter and Facebook copy, video case studies, Generation UK flyers and posters, and letter templates – i.e. goodies to help influencers from schools to parents sit up and take notice in the golden opportunities presented to Britain and young people.
Delighted to launch our new #GenUKChina digital toolkit to support parliamentarians in encouraging more young people from the UK to gain international experience in China. Available for download now: https://t.co/TpYBVEj6po #GoIntl pic.twitter.com/cpuiiRQe0O
— BritishCouncil China (@cn_British) May 23, 2018
Hopefully these messages will reach more people from outside the Home Counties. The British Council report shows that – predictably – most programme participants are from London and the Southeast.
In the unlikely event you’re an MP, or someone connected to an MP, you can download the digital kit from the British Council China landing page.
In the even more unlikely event you’re Gareth Bale and reading this, and considering your next move, you are still too young for China, so I would stay put at Madrid, or perhaps look at PSG (thank me later)…