Toolkit promotes UK Grad Route to employers
A new toolkit has launched with the aim of giving UK employers a better understanding of the benefits of employing international students via the Graduate Route.
Launched by BUILA and the International Student Employability Group, the suite of materials will provide education providers, careers advisers and students with tools to demonstrate to employers how easy it is to employ through both Graduate Route and Skilled Worker Route visas.
“International students can bring great talent and global insight to business,” Karen Blackney, employability lead, BUILA Executive, told The PIE.
“We hope that these succinct guides will help employers to navigate the straight-forward and low-cost process of employing them.”
In statement, ISEG – set up by UKCISA in 2020 – said that since the introduction of the Graduate Route visa and the Skilled Worker Route visa it has “never been easier” for employers to hire from the UK’s “rich pool of international talent”.
“International students make a huge contribution to the UK and bring with them a range of skills and experiences, drawn directly from their studies and from their lived experience in their home country,” it continued.
However, it highlighted recent research from HEPI and Kaplan which suggested that only 3% of employers indicated they had knowingly made use of the Graduate Route visa.
A further 27% of employers said they were not at all familiar with the Graduate Route visa.
“International students can bring great talent and global insight to business”
A recent All Party Parliamentary Group for International Students report recommended that the higher education sector should “create a clear strategy for international student employability that supports students and graduates, and provides the knowledge, tools, and skills they need to navigate the various options open to them post study”.
As a result, as of September 19, the new materials were made available on the ISEG webpage and consist of videos, an employer infographic and a guide for international students. The materials will be distributed through employer networks and business associations, as well as to students themselves.
“Students are great advocates for the scheme, and if armed with the right material can help demonstrate the benefits directly to the employer,” ISEG said in a statement.
“In addition, and importantly, the materials will give university staff and careers offices the tools to simply explain to employers how easy it is to employ international students.”
Through the toolkit, ISEG hopes to spread the message to employers that hiring international students is not a time-consuming or expensive process – particularly under the Graduate Route. It wants to promote the fact that there are no fees associated or long-term sponsorship commitments required.
“Graduate Route is an attractive option for all sizes of employer and is ideal for flexible or fixed-term work projects,” ISEG added.
The materials also include interviews with employers who talk about their experience of working with the new visa system and the benefits it brings.
“Gaining a sponsor licence has helped the strategy for our business in two main ways. One is recruitment and the other one is around diversity,” said Jake Third, managing director at marketing agency Hallam.
“For recruitment, a lot of businesses in the UK are really struggling to hire top talent. This has reduced the barriers of entry for us. We are a marketing agency, and in the UK it’s predominantly a white and male industry,” he continued.
“We’re looking to be at the forefront leaders in terms of improving our diversity.”