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International experience is key for employability in global economy

SNP MEP Alyn Smith to address Scotland Goes Global 'Investing in Scotland's Future - Developing Global Graduates for a Global Economy' conference.

Alyn Smith MEP will provide the keynote address at the Investing in Scotland’s Future conference, which is being held today (Friday) at the University of Strathclyde (note 1).

The Scottish Government-funded Scotland Goes Global project is hosting the conference, which is bringing together Scottish industry leaders and education experts to discuss the role of internationalised graduates in a global economy (note 2).

Opportunities to study abroad have been shown to enhance employability as well as improve academic performance and personal development; however Scottish students are not taking up the opportunity to study abroad in high numbers. As such, the conference will bring together Scottish industry leaders and education experts to discuss what more can be done to encourage students to study abroad.

Alyn Smith MEP, said:

"As a former Erasmus student I know exactly how valuable studying abroad is. It broadens your horizons and gives you a taste of other cultures which you just don't get as a tourist. The skills that students gain can boost their job prospects and increase labour mobility which, in today's international job market, is invaluable.

"Encouraging Scottish students into the world classroom is vital in the fight to keep Scotland competitive in the global marketplace. Campaigns like Scotland Goes Global are helping to encourage our students to go for it and the impact this will have for Scotland is great.

"Scotland has one of the lowest outward mobility figures in Europe. Our current study abroad figure is under 1% compared to a target of 20% by 2020. There are increases in the number of Scots studying abroad but we need better results much faster to keep Scotland internationally engaged and open up the world to our young people.

"Scotland Goes Global is a great cross-sector initiative; we've got to work hard to make sure that we take full advantage for the students and for the country."

Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, said:

“Scotland benefits when our students study abroad. Our research has found that studying abroad not only makes for a fantastic learning experience but makes students more employable as well by bringing back new skills our economy need. We must give our students the opportunity to achieve a global outlook and compete on a global stage.

“Having the most talented people studying at our universities, and ensuring they graduate with global experience, will help ensure Scotland continues to punch above its weight on the world stage and generates beneficial links across the globe, in education and in the economy.

“By bringing together students, universities, business and the Government, Scotland Goes Global is helping boost the number of students who will have opportunities to learn valuable new skills will ultimately bring huge benefits to Scotland’s economy.”