10 February 2016
by Eduardo Lees, Generation UK-India Project Manager, Education and Society, British Council
Last night saw the Rt Hon Priti Patel MP and His Excellency Mr Navtej Sarna the Indian High Commissioner launch the new British Council TCS internship programme as part of the Generation UK-India programme. This exciting partnership and the new opportunities it brings has come about following the success of the first year of the programme which supported 560 young people from the UK to experience India in 2015.
As the Minister for Employment said last night, the partnership between the UK and India is deep and long-standing. We have a shared heritage that has created an extremely strong bond, supported by the 1.5 million British Indians who live in the UK. Since 2010, we have seen a real transformation in the relationship with the UK now the largest major investor into India receiving more investment from India than the rest of the EU combined.
The visit by Prime Minister Modi in November and the initiatives agreed during this time showed the commitment to the relationship from the two leaders and education was a key part of that commitment with the announcement of 2016 as the UK-India Year of Education, Research and Innovation.
However, the British Council’s recent ‘India Matters’ report found that our two nations did not know each other as well as they might. While 74 per cent of young Indians surveyed said that they knew ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ about the UK, just 21 per cent of young people from the UK said the same about India.
It is essential therefore that our young people are given that opportunity to develop an understanding of contemporary India and build connections for future collaboration. This was one of the principals behind creating the Generation UK-India programme.
What is Generation UK-India?
Generation UK-India aims to connect a cadre of young UK leaders with 21st Century India, setting the stage for a renewed relationship between the two countries at a cultural, business and academic level. In addition to future proofing out relationship with India the objectives behind the programme were to reduce the imbalance in mobility between the UK and India and to help develop a more globally competitive UK workforce. We have ambitious targets with the aim of supporting 25,000 young people to undertake work and study placements in India by 2020.
The partnership with TCS is a key element in achieving these targets, as are our links with nine Indian universities and over 100 Indian host schools who are working with us to provide over 800 opportunities for UK applicants in 2016.
This year we are recruiting for 200 teaching assistants, 100 interns and 500 study placement participants. Applications are currently open for Teaching Assistants (closing on 19th February) and the TCS internships (closing 31 March). Applications for the study placements open later in February.
How can institutions get involved and support Generation UK-India?
One of the barriers to outward mobility is that potentially interested applicants are not aware of what is available. We want to do everything we can do to get the word out there and ensure that as wide and diverse a range of participants take advantage of these opportunities. That is where we need the help of institutions across the UK.
In the first year of the programme 70% of participants heard about Generation UK-India from their university or college so please do continue to support with promotion by sharing our content on social media, engaging with programme alumni to spread the word amongst their peers and by hosting the British Council at your careers fairs and promotional talks.
In addition have opportunities for institutions to get directly involved in Generation UK-India this year. We have partnered with 9 Indian universities who are offering 11 courses covering a range of different topics from international relations and gender politics to yoga and Indian cinema. As well as marketing these directly to students we are offering UK institutions the chance to reserve places for a group of their students. This could be an excellent opportunity to add an international experience to an existing UK based course. It could even lead to a potential partnership between your institution and one of our Indian partners.
We are also happy to support new and existing programmes you have with India. This year we are undertaking a pilot with Robert Gordon University who are sending students to Manipal University as part of their RGU Go India project partly funded by the Scottish Government. We will be offering a support package of pre-departure support and in country advice and guidance which we hope will add value to an already exciting placement. We are looking to explore similar opportunities with other UK institutions so please do get in touch and let us know how we can help.
With your help and by continuing to build partnerships with organisations like TCS, we hope to continue to change the conversation around mobility to India and give our young people the opportunities needed to build a new generation of collaboration between the two countries.
To find out more about the opportunities available for students please visit our Study Work Create India page – you can also sign up for alerts. https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create-india
To request support for developing existing or new mobility programmes to India please sign up via our IHE page: https://www.britishcouncil.org/education/ihe/what-we-do/generation-uk-india
Hear from the participants who went in the first year of the programmes: https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create/inspirations/genukindia
To reserve places for your students on our range of study placements or if you have any queries about the programme please get in touch directly via firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: CCO Public Domain Pixabay