British Council launches digital toolkit to lure British students to China

It’s been a cracking week for “Brand Britain” on television screens worldwide. First Hazza and Meghan, then Gareth Bale.

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:

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.

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)…

Master of Belt Administration? Chinese biz school offers China Ready mini MBA

Beijing at night (Chaoyang)

With consternation growing over things like Brexit and the economy, people are looking at the far reaches of the globe for opportunities, such as China.

China has been grabbing the world’s attention these past few months through its sprawling Belt and Road Initiative, record-busting Singles Day, tech giants that are now bigger than Facebook and takeover of famous football clubs, such as continental giants AC Milan Reading FC.

But while tempting to go in all guns blazing, it’s no walk in the gōngyuán – take it from me. Western methods are to be left behind in the airport lounge (and while you’re at it, you can leave behind weird old-school things like paper money too).

Go in with an air of hubris and you will probably fail miserably (you can console yourself with KTV and one of those baijiu bottles from FamilyMart).

Alternatively you can make an effort to understand the culture, language and body language – because, quite honestly, there are languages other than English in the world…right?

The people I know who are successful in their China dealings – and I mean genuinely successful rather than blah-blah-on-LinkedIn-successful – speak the language well and fit in like a Chinese glove puppet.

But for those of you in a hurry – and why not, we do live in a wickedly fast world these days – there is a new China Mini EMBA+ programme launching in March 2018.

Offered by the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), the six-month programme will provide an insight into conducting business in China, from how to negotiate to how to build a business presence.

The programme will commence over two days in London (Module 1) with the theme of understanding China’s next move (i.e. China on the world stage).

Then the fun begins, I suppose, with five days in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen in April 2018 to master business fundamentals (Module 2).

The programme concludes over two days in Paris in June 2018 with a focus on China careers (Module 3).

And after that, who knows?

Alumni according to the website include people like Jack Ma of Alibaba, and he has done alright (though he was probably doing ok enough anyway).

Is going to university a wise decision? Experts have their say

Oxford University students

UK students have now received A Level and GCSE exam results, and the debate has turned to university entry, and whether this is, in fact, a sensible option for young people. It’s a debate set to rumble on and on:

What is without doubt is that there is more than one option. In the unlikely event that you are reading this now, and considering going to university, think this through carefully. Be strategic; there is more than one path available. Look at Pete Cashmere of Mashable fame; he started his website while living with his parents in Scotland at the age of 19. He’s worth…quite a lot, I should think.
You don’t have to limit yourself to work and/or study in the UK even – why not pack your bags and teach or join a startup overseas? It may out work cheaper and deliver more exciting prospects further down the line. More on this another time.