UNHCR – Talent Recruitment

* Here’s some news of UN recruitment posted on the blog run by Fiona Richardson from King’s College Careers Service – Peace Politics and Security. Brace yourselves, you;ll need at least two years of work experience.  You can subscribe directly to Fiona’s blog at http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/ppp/

There have been a couple of posts in the last few months about working for the U.N including a fascinating podcast of current King’s student Sarah Marshall talking about her experiences. Click on the UN tag on the right hand side of the page to find these in the archive.

Sarah alerted me last week to this current U.N recruitment round .  As is usually the case with the U.N it requires a minimum of two years work experience. Some of you may have that experience; if not then the criteria for this vacancy my be interesting from the perspective of mid term career planning. .

Entry Level Humanitarian Professional Programme

The strategic objective of the Entry Level Professional Humanitarian Programme is to identify the talent required by UNHCR to meet its operational and organizational demands today and in the future. If you are a talented professional with a passion for humanitarian work, and under 40 years of age, this is an excellent opportunity to build a career with UNHCR.

Applicants will need to fulfill the following minimum requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution;
  • Two years of relevant working experience in the respective functional area;
  • Proficiency in English and at least one other UN language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish);
  • Willingness to serve in conflict zones, and field locations.

Eligible candidates will go through a comprehensive assessment process, including psychometric and language proficiency tests.

Candidates who are selected will join this 2-year programme at the P2 Grade level and will be deployed to the field after having completed a comprehensive orientation programme.

Functional areas you can apply to:

Full details are on JobOnline

Careers in Political Campaigning

The arena of political campaigning and public affairs has an increasing prominence. One reflection of this has been the introduction of the controversial Lobbying Act by the coalition government.  Another is the increasing number of postgraduate and vocational courses that provide a platform for those considering or developing a career in the sector.  Postgraduate courses are available under the umbrella of public affairs, public policy or communications. Courses will often include a practical placement – these could be in Westminster or even Brussels, with consultancies or with companies depending on the focus of the course. You don’t necessarily need a Masters level qualification though to get started in the sector and many Masters courses are aimed at those already in the sector.    We spoke to Jamie Hewitt, Director of Campaigner Academy about careers in the sector and how Campaigner Academy can help.

What type of student has the potential to make a good campaigner? Students who are intellectually curious, enjoy meeting new people and discussing politics. Some campaigners are more introverted, but it certainly helps to be outgoing. Good analytical skills are also hugely important. Campaigners spend a lot of time summarising evidence and forming arguments – don’t become a campaigner if you don’t like reading or debating ideas. It also helps to be thoughtful and have an eye for detail as a lot of information that campaigners produce makes it into the public domain, so it’s important to be factually correct and to present information in an engaging way.   Competition for graduate campaigner jobs is fierce, so applicants will normally be expected to have obtained a 2:1 or above for their first degree, though there will of course be some exceptions.

What sort of degree backgrounds do lobbyists tend to have? Plenty of successful campaigners that have very different degree backgrounds ranging from science to the social sciences. Public policy is so broad and if you are firmly focused on becoming a specialised campaigner (e.g. for finance or health) it can actually be incredibly beneficial to have a degree background in one of these policy areas.  You definitely don’t need to have a politics degree to become a campaigner, although it can be an easier sell to a prospective employer if you have one as it proves you are interested in it. For those that don’t have politics for a first degree, many students choose to go on and study a politicsor public policy master’s and use this as a conversion course, but again this is not vital.

Why should people consider a career in political campaigning? Political campaigning is an attractive career because it is intellectually challenging (policy is often complex and fast-moving) and it also offers structured career progression. Job titles are quite well-defined and the money can be quite lucrative when you reach the higher levels. I guess there is a certain amount of kudos in working with policymakers and also a certain gratification in mastering areas of public policy that may not be well understood by the public. There is also an element of excitement that is derived from the unpredictability of politics and achieving a policy ‘win’. Seeing politicians debating an issue in Parliament that you have brought to their attention, or finding out that a particular policy position you may have been advocating has been taken up by a Select Committee, or the Government of the day, can be really satisfying.

What is the best way to go about starting a career in campaigning? Showing a demonstrable interest in politics is absolutely key. The most important thing potential employers look for is a genuine interest in politics, preferably a degree in that subject and political activity, whether locally or nationally, is a genuine advantage.  It’s a very competitive area to enter and so internships are still seen as a major stepping-stone. Many people go via the route of working for an MP. Undertaking a year in Parliament is regarded as a passport experience. However, many graduates also start off by joining a political consultancy’s graduate scheme, or get their foot in the door by interning for an organisation with a major interest in public policy – such as a charity, a business or a trade association. You don’t need to have automatically worked for an MP.  Competition can be intense, so my other message to budding campaigners is to persevere and don’t be put off by being rejected for internship experience. I was certainly rejected a few times before I got my first opportunity.

How is campaigning changing? The distinction between lobbying (campaigning) and public relations is continuing to blur. More and more public relations agencies are offering public affairs as a client service. In tandem with this, there seem to be more niche public affairs agencies springing up with expertise in areas such as health policy. Meanwhile, in-house, many organisations are trying to get their members more directly involved in campaigning activities. This is especially the case in complex policy areas where there are numerous voices all clamouring for the attention of policymakers at the same time. In these circumstances the local constituency link is still a powerful avenue of approach.

In terms of digital campaigning, social media is certainly making a bigger difference to mobilising support. Online petitioning tools are now part of the regular repertoire of campaigners and social media has definitely taken off. For example, I have successfully used Twitter to cajole politicians along to political events and received surprisingly quick responses, which I wouldn’t necessarily have got by ringing up their office. It seems that politicians are strapped to their smart phones like everyone else.

Monitoring the political landscape in the digital world is also getting easier all the time. The availability of free tools, created by organisations such as MySociety, present a viable alternative to more expensive ones used by industry professionals. As a result, we are seeing the rise of citizen campaigner – an exciting new frontier.

How does Campaigner Academy help? With all the changes in the sector I felt there was a role for an organisation to provide a range of information, training and services for those looking to develop a career in the sector or just starting out.  Most immediately we run a short (three hour) ‘Careers in Campaigning’ course geared towards undergraduates and postgraduates that may not have much background in the sector. It’s a broad course that introduces participants to practicalities of political campaigning and the opportunities for career advancement. We take a look at the work of public affairs consultants working for lobbying companies; in-house practitioners; and those campaigning in the third sector to influence public policy. ‘Political campaigning’ is a catch-all term we use to reflect the reality of many in the sector where the line is blurred between policy and public affairs. In addition to this short introductory course we will be introducing longer courses as well as the opportunity to get one to one careers advice.  We also maintain a blog which has useful sector information.

The next ‘Careers in Campaigning’ Course is taking place on the evening of Thursday, 26 March. As it is a new course it’s being discounted to £15 (normally priced £30), using the ‘Career50′ coupon, when booking through the website.  More details and booking at https://www.campaigneracademy.com/careers-in-campaigning/


Further Information about careers in political campaigning

Students in subscribing colleges can access resources in our online library ‘Careers Tagged’ – Search on ‘Public Affairs’

Other posts from this blog on Public Affairs

Otherwise useful starting points are the professional bodies associated with the sector. These include:

The Chartered Institute of Public Relations –  The main professional body representing public relations and public affairs practitioners in the UK

The Public Relations Consultants Association – – Represents companies and consultancies in the sector as well as offering membership to individuals.

The Association of Professional Political Consultants –  The APPC is a self-regulatory body representing UK public affairs practitioners



Prospects – http://www.prospects.ac.uk  Search on the postgraduate courses section – the term ‘public affairs’ returns a good number of courses including those at Queen Mary, University of London and the Public Affairs & Lobbying MSc at Brunel

You can also use Prospects to research more on careers including Public Affairs (http://www.prospects.ac.uk/public_affairs_consultant_job_description.htm)

NCVO – runs a well regarded course that includes 7 full days of tuition (brace yourselves it costs £1440)  https://www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/campaigning/certificate-in-campaigning

Campaign Bootcamp – http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/apply  This course lasts a year and starts with a one week full time session.  The next course isn’t taking place till June 2015 (deadline to apply – early April) While the course is expensive (£2800) many participants on the course attend through scholarships.  Find out more about some of the scholarships http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/blog/scholarship-bme-campaigners


Careers In Campaigning

A couple of opportunities for those interested in finding our more about campaigning

  • A new course – The ‘Careers in Campaigning’ course is being organised by Campaigner Academy at the London School of Economics on Thursday 26 March from 6pm. The course takes a detailed look at the work of political campaigners (public affairs/ government relations) and opportunities for career advancement. The three hour course is a bargain and, as it’s a new launch, it’s being discounted to £15  (normally priced £30), using the ‘Career50′ coupon, when booking through the website.  More details and booking at https://www.campaigneracademy.com/careers-in-campaigning/
  • In the last newsletter we flagged up another training opportunity in the sector, Campaign Bootcamp – http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/apply

This course lasts a year and starts with a one week full time session.  The next course isn’t taking place till June (deadline to apply – early April) so you can fit both of these in!  While the course is expensive (£2800) many participants on the course attend through scholarships.  In fact since the newsletter we have also found out about some of the scholarships that can help fund it – http://www.campaignbootcamp.org/blog/scholarship-bme-campaigners

Some opportunities

The latest student conference on International Development took place on Saturday 14 March 2015 at the University of Bristol. Congratulations to the Student Hubs team who organised the event that put together an array of speakers and exhibitors.  They underline for me what an excellent place the UK is for establishing a career in International Development.  Also how important it is to take advantage of these kinds of events which are great places for learning about the sector and hearing of opportunities you may not otherwise be aware of. Here are some of my personal highlights from the event.

  • The keynote speaker was Hugo Gorst-Williams from DfID. If you are graduating this year and want to spend a year on the popular DfID programme then you have till March 26th to apply but, as the website stresses, don’t leave it to the last minute. The programme has developed since it first started and now applicants have to apply to one of over 30 different streams including governance, procurement, growth, conflict and audit. Top marks to the team for kicking off the session with such an excellent programme.
  • In between sessions I spoke to some of the exhibitors. I met a couple of enthusiasts representing Generation UK-India (part of The British Council suite of programmes) which, after incorporating the old ‘Study India’ programme within its ambit, now offers three different kinds of placement
  • Cultural Immersion (two weeks programme but, hey, why not extend your stay and sort out a placement for yourselves?)
  • Teaching Assistantships – from two to six months
  • Work placements

Read more about the scheme at www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create-india

  • Christian Aid’s ‘Sourced’ campaign which is focusing on tax as its social justice campaign. The regional intern for the campaign at the event was Becki Hannam. Becki told me that while her degree (geography and some economics) was great for this internship Christian Aid offer lots of internships both in regional offices and head office in London. Applicants should be in broad sympathy with the Christian faith – especially for the regional internships and I got the impression this was less important for the national headquarter internships. http://www.christianaidcollective.org/collective-interns (deadline 27 March 2015)
  • A shout out to for Frank Water – a Bristol based ngo committed to making a difference in the area of water and sanitation in India. Opportunities for volunteering in the UK.
  • Finally, I spoke to Send a Cow, an NGO based in Bath with a focus on challenging hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa. As with many NGOs there are always opportunities to get involved and even where there isn’t a specific internship programme they do have opportunities come up from time to time

Understanding ModernGov – vacancy

One theme that runs like a ribbon through this blog is the range of opportunities available for students with an interest and background in politics. Understanding ModernGov, is a training organisation that runs courses on government and policy topics.  Everything from understanding the Scottish Parliament,freedom on information requests,  inspecting independent schools and the digital marketplace for the public sector.  Now they are looking  for an ‘Account Executive’ to help in the day to day running of  these courses.

You don’t have to have a politics background – just  a keen attention to detail and the ability to articulate commercial ideas with clarity. It pays £18K,  is for an immediate start and has deadline of January 23rd.   Here’s an excerpt from the job advert

Your duties will include:

• Developing and building relationships with trainers and consultants • Enhancing relationships with existing clients • Accountability for planning, organising and managing of designated courses • Assisting with new course development and generating new ideas • Liaising with stakeholders before, during and after a course • Working with the Event Manager on event logistics

The successful candidate will progress rapidly to assume development responsibilities that involve the creation of new training programmes, account management of new and existing clients, working with the sales team in prospecting new clients.

With events taking place in London and Edinburgh, the successful candidate will have the opportunity to travel.

You will need excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, and an ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines and targets. Highly motivated with the ability to multi-task, you will need to have a proven track record of producing high quality work and display outstanding organisational skills.

Essential: • Strong commercial acumen and drive • Exceptional organisational skills and attention to detail • Excellent internal and external communication skills • Committed and driven individual with a positive attitude • Ability to work to strict deadlines under pressure • Good customer service skills and ability to work under pressure with composure • Attentive, proactive and creative

Desirable: • Interest and Experience in Learning and Development • An understanding of public sector training needs • Experience in Client Relationship Management

How to apply: Please send CV and a short covering letter (300 words max) to Joe Barlow – joe.barlow@moderngov.com.  Should you have any questions or require further information please call Joe Barlow on 0203 770 6601.



From Politics To Business Advisory

Maria DegnI spoke to Maria Degn, a Queen Mary University of London alumni who, after completing her MSc in International Public Policy in 2014, took up a paid advisory internship with Grant Thornton, a professional services firm. We talked to her about how her background in politics was a launchpad for her career (she has since been appointed as a full time associate).

Maria, you’re Danish so why did you come to London for your Masters course? Well for most Danish politics graduates taking a Masters in London is like a finishing school. London universities in general and places like the LSE have a high profile and reputation. I chose Queen Mary because I was particularly interested in International Public Policy and the Department had been highly recommended to me.

What caught your eye about the Grant Thornton internship? While I didn’t know much, if anything, about Grant Thornton initially the internship role was eye-catching because it was called ’The Future Leaders Programme’ in the Government & Infrastructure Advisory department. I quickly saw that there were lots of connections between my interest in politics, wanting to see the big picture economically and politically and wanting to work in a practical way. The Business Growth Service delivered by the Government & Infrastructure Advisory have a significant effect on SME business growth and we are therefore at the heart of the government’s agenda for accelerating the growth of the SME market. Lots of our work is funded by the UK government – primarily the Business, Innovation and Skills department. They are looking to support SMEs overcome barriers to growth.

How did your academic background prepare you for the work? I knew a little bit about consultancy work because I had worked as a messenger in a consultancy in Denmark but I didn’t have a commercial background and no work experience in the UK. However, my studies helped because I had developed research and analytical skills. Also I was able to use my writing skills to help me structure reports. You also get a good sense of how the economy and society works.

Can you say a little more about your work? The Future Leaders Programme is a six months internship where I have been given the possibility to work with different teams. We help SMEs to overcome their barriers to growth. I have been working with the Analytics team for example supporting internal and external research and the Stakeholder Management team learning how to build and maintain relationships with important stakeholders. Another rotation was in the Business Development team with a focus on access to finance. Many SMEs may flag up the fact that they need access to finance but are blocked because banks won’t give them a loan. In this case we would be able to flag up a range of private finance. We know about this market and can broker meetings between investors and the SME. We can also help SMEs make their pitch for funding. How to make sure they present their work in an interesting way, what grants and awards they may have received, what investment angle they take with potential investors. Other barriers might be around marketing or developing their business through new products.

Another area of work is around the processes underpinning the support programmes which I in particular was exposed to at my work with the Manufacturing Advisory Service team. We may for example have to provide information about the different sectors our clients are working in. Or create a stakeholder management plan identifying the key players  in a given sector.

In addition to the rotations I have also had the opportunity to be responsible for my own client in the Growth Immersion Project where we have gained invaluable experience through supporting our partner business. We have been to different personal development sessions such as coaching as well as being participating in Business Growth Academies where we learn about different commercial aspects such as branding, innovation and incubation. It has not only been day to day work but also a lot of personal development and experience.

Is the programme what you expected? It has exceeded my expectations – I have been surprised how much it has been possible for me to develop and learn in just six months. You get actual responsibility and experience as well as the company invest in developing you on both a personal and professional level. We’ve even moved offices from Euston to Finsbury Square so I’m nearer where I live. The training programme has been really good with workshops and visits to organisations. Most recently, for example, to Ravensbourne College on digital creativity. Finally, of course, I’ve been offered a permanent position and can start planning a future in London – in the long term I might want to do an MBA or professional qualifications.

Read more about Grant Thornton Internships at https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/programmes/internships

And another useful site is https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/future-leaders-internship

Deadlines for internships are not available yet but watch this space.

European Commission Traineeship…registration now OPEN!

logo_enThanks to my colleague Fiona Richardson for posting this. Don’t forget if you have access to our online library Careers Tagged you can find lots of  curated links to European Union opportunities http://www.careerstagged.co.uk/resources/european%20union/all/popular/1/all

The EU institutions offer 5 month  paid internships (called “stages”),mainly for graduates which cover a variety of subject areas and expertise (including finance, law, politics, education, audit and HR). Doing an internship in an EU institution is highly valued by employers, as you gain knowledge of how things are done in Brussels whilst making excellent contacts for the future.

For more details and to apply now click here. The deadline is midday (Brussels time) 31 January…don’t leave it until the last minute like everyone else!

So what do you do as a stagiere?

If you are successful in your application you will be working alongside officials on a variety of different interesting topics – this largely depends on the service you are assigned to but you could be:

  • Helping develop/research new policy ideas;
  • Organising/attending meetings with other commission officials or stakeholders;
  • Working in a translation service;
  • Doing some legal research;
  • Assisting in the work of the Commissioner Cabinets (similar to UK Private Office of Ministers);
  • Researching and compiling data or providing your colleagues with a summary of reports; or
  • Attending working groups in the Council of the EU and Committee discussions in the European Parliament.


Are you eligible?

The programme is open to graduates from all over the world who have followed a degree of at least 3 years in length (minimum Bachelors). Whilst the majority of applicants are those who have recently graduated there are also lots of people who apply after having already started their careers.

You also need to have very good knowledge of two official EU languages, at least one of which must be English, French or German.

Apply online here: http://ec.europa.eu/stages/index_en.htm


Best of luck with your application!

Opportunities with The Hunger Project

thpI recently met with Sophie Noonan, the UK Country Director of The Hunger Project, a global organisation that 30 years ago created the possibility that world hunger could be eliminated. It is active in many developing countries and now has a presence in the UK. It’s underlying approach – local people creating a vision, actions and commitments to resolve their own problems – does not mean that there aren’t ways of getting involved with The Hunger Project and its distinctive approach to dismantling world hunger and the issues associated with it.  We talked about ways to get involved during our conversation.

Sophie, how would you describe ‘The Hunger Project’s approach?  Despite our name we are actually concerned with all the Millennium Development Goals, not just those that concern hunger specifically. To do this we look to build capacity in rural communities. We worked with over 17.000 communities across Africa, India, Bangladesh and Latin America who we mobilise to establish what we call ‘epicentres’. These are buildings that serve as the base for the range of activities local people want to conduct. So far we have over 121 such epicentres with the aim of moving those that do exist towards self-sustainability.

The epicenter strategy has four phases that take up to eight years. Firstly, there is an initial mobilisation practice to break any mindsets of resignation, dependency and gender discrimination. In this first phase we are looking for key local individuals who will be the dynamic, responsive volunteer leaders – we call them ‘animators’- who can help develop self-reliant action projects. Local animators become specialised in areas such as nutrition, health, agriculture or women’s empowerment. The aim is to have clusters of villages overcoming any barriers and working together; this gives them the weight and size to work effectively which ultimately attract resources and gets them on the radar of district governments.

During the second phase, local villages contribute the labour and materials to build a multiroom building, the epicentre. This houses the clinic, food bank, microfinance facility that will be the engine of growth eventually, and a three acre demonstration farm as well as other facilities that a specific village might need. When completed, the epicentre becomes the seat of literacy, education and food processing in the community.

Phase Three is about the community developing the skill to run these programmes and track progress in health, education, water, sanitation and women’s economic empowerment.

Finally, in phase four, the epicentre develops income generating and democratic practices in order to achieve sustainable self-reliance.

The role of women is given particular prominence in the programmes. Why is that? Despite the fact that women in developing countries provide nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labour, they continue to account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry. Given the opportunity to generate and control an income, women routinely invest significant portions of their income in food, healthcare and education for their families. Unfortunately, at the moment, the majority of women in developing countries lack economic power, resulting in a higher rate of girls kept out of school, minimal access to basic health care, increased HIV/AIDS prevalence and higher maternal mortality rates. Yet women continue to bear almost all responsibility for meeting the basic needs of the family. To break the cycle of hunger and poverty sustainably we start with women, mobilise everyone and engage government

Consequently, where we are supporting projects, we insist, for example, that the local committees have equal gender representation. In fact the only exception is for organisations involved with micro-finance where the committees are comprised wholly of women. The economic empowerment of women is a key part of our strategy and the financial influence they gain, the reading and writing skills, the social confidence and pride means they are having a greater say in the direction of their communities. In the area of nutrition and children the 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday offer a unique window of opportunity to shape healthier and more prosperous futures. By focusing on improving nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day window, we can help ensure a child can live a healthy and productive life.

How can people in the UK get involved? Wherever you are we can get you involved in our army of highly committed supporters. At one level you can take part in a challenge such as the cycle, walking or running events, or create one of your own. ‘Live Below the Line’, one of the challenges involves living on £1 day and we have now developed a ‘Come Dine Below The Line’event. Raising money needn’t be miserable!

One of our supporters has taken on the challenge of raising a £1 million in 2015 (visit the 1000 by 1000 to End Hunger campaign page here http://bit.ly/1uvM39I)

We also regularly have opportunities for volunteers to help us organise events, conduct advocacy work, expand our presence on social media and, in the longer term, we would look to develop policy opportunities. Ideally we would like two days a week but the most important things is your alignment with what we are trying to do and an engagement over a longer period of time. If you are interested in these roles then please send an email with a little information on what area you might like to be involved in to sophie.noonan@thp.org

* Jeff Riley, the author of this post, is proud to be taking part in the 1000 by a 1000 to End Hunger Campaign.


Internships in Cyber Security

My colleague at King’s College London Careers, Fiona Richardson, has showcased this vacancy from the vacancy service run by The Careers Group, University of London.

Digital Shadows provide cyber monitoring and threat intelligence services to high profile organisations. They are currently recruiting a number of interns and the positions are paid too.  this is what they say about themselves……

We’re an award winning start-up, and since being founded in 2011 we haven’t stopped growing. We’ve got ambitious growth plans for 2015, and we’re seeking exceptional individuals to join us on our journey as we grow our UK operation, and expand to the US.

At the centre of what we do are our intelligence analysts. They piece together nebulous nuggets of information. They seek answers where others seek shortcuts. They don’t believe the obvious narrative, they question speculation, and always critically review evidence. They strive to inform our clients of the threats facing them, and are passionate about the subjects which they cover.

To assist with our growth, we’re looking to recruit several interns to assist our intelligence analysts. We’ll offer you a unique insight to the intelligence and cyber security world. You’ll have the opportunity to work on live client facing projects, and your contribution will make a real difference.

We’re flexible on commitment, can accommodate both full time positions and part time for those still studying. The scheme runs for three months, and is based in our Canary Wharf offices. Upon completion there may be opportunities for further employment here in London, or potentially San Francisco.

If you think this is for you, we’re accepting applications until 6pm on 30th January 2015. For more information on applying for internships with us, check out the Intelligence Analyst blog series on our website

For full details and a person specification go to JobOnline.

British Council. Study, Work, Create

The British Council offer a range of programmes that give students the vital international experience they need that is a key element of those developing a career in international development. The programmes are equally good for those looking to get the international experience needed for a range of politics related careers as well. I recently attended a presentation from the British Council that was an opportunity to find out in a comprehensive way about the growing array of opportunities offered under the banner of ‘Study, Work, Create’ for university students and recent graduates. Through programmes all over the world they have opportunities for 30,000 UK students to experience ‘abroad’ through work or study or creative roles. Opportunities range from study or work in China or Indian, teaching opportunities in places such as Mexico and Latin America and Thailand.  The British Council also offer an excellent graduate programme which will involve international postings as well as UK based internship programmes

John Worne, the director strategy of the British Council outlined the UK’s global profile and stressed how the British Council’s mission is to ensure that the ‘brand’ remains strong. They are experts in understanding how the UK is seen in different parts of the world and their programmes are partly designed to help create positive connections between the UK and the rest of the world.

John pointed out that the UK is one of the most globally connected countries in the world through its culture, aid and trade. He also made an interesting point that the perception of the UK is increasingly made through less official channels rather than highly managed government channels.

A recent survey by the British Council of young people in BRICS countries found that the UK was highly thought of for such things as its higher education (yay!) and the personal contacts people have there. British people are seen as trustworthy as well. Valued assets include our Royal Family, our universities (twice yay!) our culture and our history.   These kinds of surveys enable the British Council to equip the students they send abroad on their programmes with an understanding of other countries and how Britain and British people are perceived by them. For example Britain scores unusually low on trust in Turkey. It surprised the British Council when they explored this and established that this lack of trust went back to Britain’s role in the First World War. Being sensitive to this perception helps British people on their programmes in Turkey build relationships.


Two different programmes

  • ERASMUS Plus. This is The EU’s new programme for education, training, sport and youth running until 2020. Higher education is a distinct part of this. Around 30,000 students from the UK take part of their degree in the EU – half of these are studying through Erasmus plus supportThe HE opportunity comprises 3 to 12 months in one of 33 participating countries – the EU countries plus others such as Norway, Turkey and Macedonia. Students must be have completed the first year of their study and the programme is open to all students including international students. One of the reasons the UK provides less applicants than other countries is because students are concerned about their language skills. However many Erasmus accredited courses are taken in English. To be approved Erasmus course placements must count towards students degrees. Universities apply for funding by each March and students typically apply to their colleges between December and March for an Erasmus programme in the following academic year.
  • Erasmus Work Placements – minimum is for 2 months but must be integrated and relevant to the course – students may need to persuade their academic authorities the relevance of the work experience to the academic course.

IAESTE  Founded at Imperial 65 years ago. Huge international exchange programme managed in the UK by the British council. Aims to provide employers and universities with highly skilled and motivated trainees. For science engineering, technology and applied arts eg Architecture For students in 2nd year onwards. Deadline December each year. 1300 applicants from the UK for 150 placements. Placements begin in the summer. Placements are paid £234 per week, with placements running from 6 weeks to one year. Students have to pay travel and admin fee along with associated costs. On return there are opportunities to serve on student run committees.

Language Assistant Programme  A paid bi-lateral programme (€700 per month) to teach in 14 countries across the world – China Latin America and others. Assistants serve as an additional resource for the qualified teachers in schools. What they offer isn’t, however, just about teaching but they operate as a channel for knowledge and awareness of the UK. Informing lessons with an intimate awareness of the UK. You will need a B1 level of the host language though not in China where no Chinese language skills are expected..

Requirements: Native level English. UK / EU Citizenship. Secondary education in UK. HE in UK – two years completed. Deadline 19 December each year.   www.Britishcouncil.org/language-assistants


Costs Travel / interviews; medical travel insurance; possibly visa costs; police checks (costs £60); accommodation – via host families for example

Funding via Erasmus grants – contact Erasmus coordinators in your university. Typically found in the college international office.

Support Pre-departure packs – contact details, how to prepare, previous assistants biographies; briefings; teaching resources; induction course in-country; mentor for the year

Generation UK – China

  • Academic scholarships for British Passport holders to mainland China from one semester to one year. Current or recent students. Typically those about to graduate. Non accredited but exam can be taken at the end in Chinese proficiency which would be a useful addition to a CV.
  • Work – internships. Need to be on maintenance grant. Academic achievement. Could be Chinese or international company. Six cities and a range of placements. Lots of funding support including accommodation but no stipend or flights

Generation UK – India  Not an exact parallel to the Generation UK – China programme. 25,000 going to India to gain skills and experience an expansion of the study India programme (see previous posts ). Programmes comprise a cultural immersion element- including a focus on such things  entrepreneurship and manufacturing;  400 teaching assistant placements (not just English but subject teaching) and extra curricular experiences. Two months from July or six months from October. There are also 100 work placements in both corporate and government sector. Internships last for 2 months.

Thailand English teaching programme (TET) This programme provides opportunities for students to work as assistants in rural schools.  Ranges from 9 weeks summer placements or full terms. Lots of challenges for students on the programme. This is rural Thailand not sophisticated Bangkok – very few people know English and you will face rural conditions. However you will have enthusiastic learners because English, for Thai people, is an important subject. The programme is great for those wanting to establish teaching credentials or needing to demonstrate and obtain international experience

ETAs support language programme in schools and the school’s extra curricular events It is designed to enhance or provide an understanding of the UK and Europe and to motivate school pupils to study English

Applicants should have interest in languages and good interpersonal skills and evidence of resourcefulness. Those taking the longer placements need a degree in education or English language. The programme is also open to CELTA or Trinity ‘Teaching English as a Foreign Language’ graduates. Those with previous TEFL experience can also apply without the relevant degree subjects specified above. You will need, however, to be a native English speaker or have English at IELTS band 7 or above and a UK or EU passport

Cost  Fees £200 or £450 for the longer programme; air fares; visa; police check (you will be working with children); insurance and vaccinations; personal expenses for first month. You will receive a monthly stipend £200 per month; free transport; Lunch; accommodation

The British Council as an employer  In addition to their international programmes the British Council also recruit students for both internships and for a graduate scheme.

Graduate scheme A 3 year programme with10-15 places . While the first year will be UK based most of the programme will be international. UK Passport holders only  Applicants  must have international experience as some of the locations British Council staff work in are ‘difficult’. Will need English plus one additional language at proficiency level. Locations for overseas postings include Pakistan Qatar, Libya, Russia, Mexico

Summer internship in the UK – 10-12 placements across the whole range of work the British Council is involved with and interns have been involved with interesting projects including film making and communications.