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International students at Welsh universities bring 'significant and positive benefits' to Wales, says new Universities Wales report

21 November 2017

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A report released by Universities Wales shows that international students studying at Welsh universities are having an immediate and significant impact on our country.

The strength of Welsh universities in attracting more than 22,000 students from 140 countries all over the world to study in Wales powers the economy, generates jobs and boosts export earnings through increased tourism.

The research, conducted by Viewforth consulting, found that in 2015/16, international students and their visitors generated £716m of Welsh output.

This significant economic contribution was generated through both on-campus and off-campus expenditure, with tuition fees, accommodation costs, and money spent in local cafes, bars and shops all producing over £372m of Welsh Gross Value Added (GVA) and generating 6850 Full Time Equivalent jobs.

The analysis also showed that impact flowed across Wales, with over 1,598 jobs created in areas which do not have a university presence.

International students bring immense cultural, social and economic value during their time studying in Wales, in addition to creating crucial global networks for Welsh students.

By attracting students from abroad, the higher education sector is contributing, both immediately and in the longer term, to the goal of raising the country’s profile and attracting investment.

Cabinet Secretary for Education Kirsty Williams said: “Wales continues to be recognised internationally as an exceptional place to study and live, with a reputation for excellence.

“This report demonstrates that the strength of Welsh universities in attracting students from all over the world to study here brings both social and economic value to our campuses and communities, with international students making a significant contribution to the wider Welsh economy.”

Chair, Universities Wales, and Vice-Chancellor of University of South Wales, Professor Julie Lydon said: “This report demonstrates the immeasurable social and cultural value of our international students, showing that their presence brings immediate and significant economic value to our local and national economies.

“It lays out how an international Welsh higher education sector strengthens Wales’ global presence and attracts investment, with an immediate and positive impact on communities across Wales.”

Ian Price, Director, CBI Wales (Confederation of British Industry), said: “The Welsh business community recognises the significant contribution international students make to the local economy. In an increasingly global trading environment, international students bring new ideas, important skills, and links to networks around the world.

"These links will become even more crucial in a post Brexit economy; and it is vital that the government and local community look at how they can support the Welsh universities international work to ensure that they can continue to help the country thrive.”

International MBA graduate Aadil Mukhtar, Founder & Senior Consultant of Marketing Runway, a Cardiff based start-up offering business consulting, digital marketing and technology solutions said: “Studying in Wales provided me with a perfect platform to establish my business, which now offers its services in 17 countries around the world.

"For a thriving Welsh economy, it is vital that these opportunities are available to entrepreneurs and global businesses who want to come to Wales especially post Brexit”

Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama graduate Daphne Chook Pui Yee, Music Coordinator and co-founder of International Music School Cardiff said: “Being able to set up my business with international networks and the support from my university has helped to build my business in Wales and it is crucial that international graduates are being recognized as important contributors to the Welsh economy development”

1. GVA or ‘Gross Value Added’ is a measure of the value created by the sector- GVA is the industry level measure of GDP(0). GDP(0) Is a production measure of the net change in wealth or prosperity in the economy over the whole year.

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