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Education Secretary visits University

8 December 2016

Kirsty Williams AM speaking to students

Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams AM today (Thursday 8 December 2016) visited Cardiff University’s Global Opportunities to learn more about how the University is providing opportunities for students in an international context.

The University’s Global Opportunities Team provides a dedicated resource and source of expertise for all of the international opportunities available through the University. Using the University’s links with over 300 institutions, both in Europe and worldwide, the Centre provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to embark on an overseas placement whether as part of their degree scheme, or as part of an opportunity to study, work or volunteer abroad on a summer placement.

Students who have a period abroad (whether studying, working and volunteering) during their time at university are more employable. Feedback from students who have been abroad believed their placements enabled them to develop skills that would be useful in future employment, with a recent CBI report showing that work experience gained through business placements or internships can play a valuable part in strengthening students’ preparedness for employment.

Speaking after the visit, Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: "Wales has a strong record in attracting international students, but whilst some 10 per cent of the world's students choose to study in the UK, we still need to do much more to encourage our own students to be mobile.

“18% of our home undergraduate students graduating in 2016 participated in international mobility schemes, supporting the enhancement of students’ personal development, inter-cultural understanding, linguistic abilities as well as the development of many of the transferable skills employers seek from graduates..."

“The challenge now in the post-Brexit landscape is to ensure that such vital opportunities for our students are continued. This will not only support the internationalisation of higher education but allow universities to continue valuable collaboration with international partners which will be vital if UK science and research is to continue to be a global leader."

Professor Colin Riordan President and Vice-Chancellor, Cardiff University

"The message we need to get across is a simple one: outward mobility is not only of benefit to our students, it's also a win-win for Wales."

Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams said: “Our universities are central to our social and economic future and they thrive through the diversity of the people who come to them..."

“I am determined we protect Wales’ reputation as a friendly and tolerant place to study and carry out world-class research. Whatever the long-term implications of Brexit, we remain an outward looking and welcoming nation, committed to sharing knowledge across national borders."

Kirsty Williams AM Cabinet Secretary for Education

“I was therefore really keen to learn more about the work the university has been carrying out with institutions, both in Europe and worldwide, to provide students with the chance to undertake overseas placements. This is a fabulous opportunity which can help broaden a student’s knowledge and experience of other customs and cultures while helping them gain valuable skills, which could be attractive to employers.”

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We have links with over 300 institutions and can provide you with the opportunity to embark on an overseas placement in Europe and across the world.