By Daniel Hunter

A range of ways to help students gain vital international experience from overseas study and work placements was set out this week in a report commissioned by Universities and Science Minister David Willetts.

The report by Professor Colin Riordan, Chair of the UK HE International Unit, looks at the incentives and obstacles to students studying and working abroad. It makes recommendations to ensure the numbers of students choosing to go abroad increases in the future.

The report’s main recommendations are:

- The development of a national strategy for outward mobility and a sector- led body to support this. Professor Riordan and the Joint Steering Group on Outward Student Mobility have now been asked to develop this idea and present options for a sector-led solution.

- A replacement scheme for the current Erasmus fee-waiver that will come into effect from the academic year 2014/15. For the first time, financial support will also extend to student placements at overseas institutions outside of the Erasmus scheme - both within and outside of the EU.

“Study abroad offers a huge range of benefits for students taking part, and also for our universities and the wider UK economy. Students improve their employability, institutions develop their international links and businesses value the wider experience of those who’ve spent time abroad. It’s a win-win for all," Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said.

“The number of UK students taking overseas placements has been low. This report and our new funding arrangements will help address this gap.”

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