UK universities unite with employers to guarantee posts when graduates return Chinese students thinking of attending university in northern England have been given a new incentive: a job with a foreign company when they return home. The University of Huddersfield and 10 other northern England universities on Wednesday launched the Career Opportunity Partnerships Scheme which aims to link up British and other companies operating in China with prospective UK graduate trainees. Interested companies are invited to sign up so they can scout out potential recruits among the crop of incoming Chinese students. The 11 universities are part of the Northern Consortium which already operates preparation courses in eight cities in the mainland helping 1,000 students get ready for their British university courses. 'The idea is potential employers of these students would make contact with them before they come to the UK to talk about their choice of course and opportunities they might have to providing an industrial placement programme as part of their degree programme,' said University of Huddersfield's vice-chancellor John Tarrant. The students will spend the first two years of their course in the UK and the third year on a placement working at a company before returning to university for their final year. If all worked out, they would be hired after graduation to work in China, said Professor Tarrant. 'The companies get the benefit of access to well-trained graduates taught in British universities. Students benefit because they get in contact with large multinational corporations very early on before they start their degree programme and the Chinese government has an incentive for well-qualified graduates to return to China,' he said. He added universities also gained a competitive recruiting edge in the highly-lucrative international student market. In order to make up for government funding shortfalls, British universities were looking to admit more foreign students, who paid as much as five times as local students for tuition. The University of Huddersfield has about 250 Chinese students. Most of the opportunities will be for engineering students to work in the booming manufacturing sector. However, Mr Tarrant said in the future there might also be opportunities in the hotel and tourism sector and the media. One local company, Holset Engineering, has already signed up and others have shown interest, university officials said. Huddersfield-based Holset makes turbochargers for commercial diesel engines and opened a plant in Wuxi, Jiangsu, in 2004.