In a letter to UK CEO sacross a range of leading companies including many FTSE 100 businesses, Cable called upon leaders to support student mobility to China, in order to give British young people the skills and experience they need to excel in a globalised labour market.‘The global centre of gravity is shifting eastwards to major economic power houses like China. But while China sends around 100,000 students each year to the UK, we send little more than 5,000 in the opposite direction and that’s two thirds more than we sent in 2010,’ he said.‘By contrast, France sends over 8,000 students to China annually. We must raise our game. New independent research shows that a lack of language skills in the UK is costing our economy about £48 billion.
The shortage of Mandarin speakers is part of the problem. I don’t want young British people to get left behind,’he pointed out.‘I’ve written to a range of leading UK businesses urging them to get behind the British Council’s Generation UK campaign, which aims to increase the number of UK people studying or undertaking internships in China to 80,000 by 2020. Participants in this programme will not only boost their own career prospects, but become ambassadors for UK-China relations on their return home,’ he added.Around 5,400 UK students studied in China last year. This number has grown by almost 65% since 2010. The UK government believes it is fundamentally important that more young people from the UK have opportunities to gain greater exposure to, and understanding of China, putting them in a more competitive position in the job market internationally, but also in the UK, with the growing trend of inward investment from China and with the increasing number of Chinese tourists visiting the UK.