Internship places still available through British Council’s Generation UK – China programme

When I graduated many years ago, my options were limited. There was no social media. No smartphones. And certainly no hopping over to Asia for work experience (though I did apply – unsuccessfully – to Singapore Airlines. I’ve still not flown with them since).

Times have changed, and both students and graduates these days can apply for internships halfway around the world. What fun!

Places are still available on the British Council China’s two-month Generation UK – China internship, offered through its partnerships with CRCC Asia (Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen) and InterChina (Qingdao, Chengdu and Zhuhai).

Having been to all of these cities other than Zhuhai, I would say the latter option that includes Qingdao and Chengdu is the more interesting choice from a cultural and living perspective.

All placement fees, accommodation, travel insurance and airport pickup is covered by Generation UK – China funding, which is pretty amazing, and interns will also receive weekly Chinese language classes and take part in business/cultural activities.

It’s a heck of a start in anyone’s career, and certainly tops my call centre experience.

Anyone interested can apply through the British Council website.

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)…

300 disadvantaged young people will have the chance to work in China

It might be snowing in the UK, but bilateral relations between Britain and China look warmer than ever.

A fifth high-level People-to-People Dialogue between the UK and China has led to the signing of 10 key agreements.

The “P2P Dialogue” (honestly, who comes up with these names?), an annual event with dignitaries from China and the UK, aims to promote collaboration in areas like health, education, culture, science and innovation, tourism and sport.

One such agreement, announced by UK Heritage Minister John Glen, was for a “Wall to Wall” collaboration between Hadrian’s Wall (73 miles) and the Great Wall of China (bigger than 73 miles), to strengthen international heritage partnerships and tourism. Top marks to whoever came up with the Wall to Wall idea – or should that be W2W?

But while the walls are symbols of the past (as majestic as they are), the future belongs to the young.

Education Secretary Justine Greening announced that the Generation UK-China scheme will be expanded to give twice as many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to take up internships in China from 2018.

Launched by the British Council in 2013, Generation UK – China aims to help students from the UK boost their employability, enhance their long-term job prospects, and develop a global mindset through study and work experience opportunities in China.

It’s exciting news indeed that young people from less represented backgrounds have the opportunity to travel further than they’d imagined.