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Don’t Be Part of the Graduate ‘Brain Drain’

Last updated October 27th, 2017

Recently left school or college? Thinking about the steps you could take towards your future working life? Not sure whether going to university will be the right option for you?
Whether you’re thinking about studying to learn about the events industry or not (although as you’re here we’re guessing you’re at least a little bit curious about the excitement of working in events), it’s possible you might be interested in an important three year study of students, recently released by The University Partnerships Programme (UPP).
The UPP report, ‘Skills to pay the bills: How students pick where to study and where to work‘ is relevant to anyone pondering their further education and future careers, as it offers some important insights into where university study might take you … right here to London, it seems.

Brain drain phenomenon

2017’s UPP report echoes 2016’s Centre for Cities report which first identified ‘The Great British Brain Drain’, on discovering that a quarter of graduates from all UK universities in 2014 and 2015 steadily moved away from their cities of study, and headed to London after graduation (also reported in The Guardian, 2016). The main reasons given for this shift of students away from their university cities were:

Both reports detailed the problems local areas experience when graduates get going, with industries local to the university losing out on graduate expertise and knowledge, local economies suffering and surrounding regions also being deprived of graduates’ skills, spending power and community contributions.
However, if you’re someone who’s trying to figure out your future steps, it’s also worth looking more closely at the problems this ‘brain drain’ causes students, as it’s likely to affect anyone considering taking the university route to career-based knowledge:
1) Moving for work = sacrificing a network
Both reports confirmed that students felt that having to move away from their cities of study, to find work or get started in a career, means giving up those valuable social networks you establish when you’re studying.
What’s more, this kind of moving on also means sacrificing any professional network you’ve started to build up. As anyone involved in event management knows, professional network is vital right from the off, and part of studying events should include creating a professional network of contacts as you go.
So if you go to uni, perhaps to study events, and then make that sensible move to London to get your career going, any network of professional contacts established during your years of university will mostly be lost in the move – which means a real step back in starting over with gaining contacts and being part of the industry.
2) Financial strain?
It’s official: studying at university currently means incurring huge student loan debts, which have the potential to keep growing. Adding in the cost of having to swap city after studying makes another strain on the post-study finances, even before you’ve hit the job market.
3) Accommodation
Without doubt, moving to a bustling cosmopolitan hub such as London is exciting and exhilarating, but the logistics of leaving the place where you’ve been studying for around 3 years or more can be horrendous. Beyond those additional costs of moving, at least in your previous city you knew the affordable places to live, eat and play – in London this can be harder to do if you don’t know the area well. But …

The lure of London

Interestingly, UPP’s report found those who studied in London were the ones who bucked the trend of moving on – with 60% staying in the city to start off their careers after graduating (compared to 40% national average). This encouraging statistic seems to suggest that starting as you mean to go on, by coming to London to study for your new career as a prelude to working in the city, might be an ideal solution.

Gaining, not draining

So if you’re thinking of studying event management, but don’t want to be caught up in ‘brain drain’ headaches (especially if you intend to start your career by living and working in London) it may be worth considering a university-alternative route to gaining a respected qualification.
In fact, degree-alternative, vocational courses could mean less drain and much more gain through:

With there being so many benefits to starting as you mean to go on (and where you mean to go on) for a career in events, it makes sense to consider making the most of alternative routes to university with accredited event industry-relevant qualifications. In the face of UPP and Centre for Cities reports, it would seem there could be significant gain, no drain and far less financial strain involved when you study event management vocationally in London!

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