Students need to ‘broaden their horizons’

Students in the UK are being warned that they need to develop an international outlook to further their careers.

A British Council survey suggests that multi-national employers in the UK are struggling to recruit staff with a “global outlook” needed for business and that UK students need to broaden their horizons.

Multi-national companies, with staff and customers in many different countries and cultures, have told the British Council of the importance of recruiting employees who can "think globally".

According to the survey of 500 business leaders, 75% fear that the UK economy is at risk of being "left behind" because of a lack of recruits who can have such an international awareness.

The survey, commissioned by the British Council and Think Global charity, also found that 74% of these business representatives warned that in the UK young people's "horizons are not broad enough" for a globalised economy.

The news puts an emphasis on gap years and highlights the importance of working abroad to gain relevant work experience and to improve your CV. A constructive gap year involving independent travel, volunteering, studying or working abroad makes a big difference to potential employers.

Jo Beall, British Council director of education and society, told the BBC: "This research shows that while British students are extremely keen to gain international experiences, there aren't enough of the right opportunities for them to gain the professional skills that British employers really value.”

There are many ways in which UK students can broaden their horizons on a gap year, from volunteering in an HIV centre in South Africa to working in a medical centre in Mongolia. As long as you volunteer for an organisation in an area related to your long-term career plans or find a job that will give you addition experience and skills then you’ll be more employable in the UK.

Are you currently working abroad on your gap year? Do you think those skills will help you get a job in the UK?

One of the most popular places to work abroad on a gap year is Australia, so why don’t you read our guide to working in Australia?

For more information on volunteering and working abroad then go to our volunteering and job sections for loads of useful information and products.