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Loughborough’s Earn to Learn scheme could keep more jobs UK-based

Graduate jobs are on the decline as companies look to outsource their middle management roles. But one academic’s surprise solution could not only stop the flow of UK jobs going overseas, but also provide current students with financial assistance and improved career prospects.

The rise of Shared Service Centres in the UK and overseas means a wide range of UK-based office roles are under threat.

As well as reducing the number of mid-level jobs in the UK (creating an hourglass shaped economy and hindering promotion opportunities), delayering also prevents graduates from getting that first step on the career ladder as entry level jobs face decline.

The Association of Graduate Recruiters reported graduate recruitment to top organisations fell 8% in 2016. This is predicted to worsen as more companies move business support services overseas.  

The solution?

Ian Herbert says students could provide the answer. His proposed Earn to Learn Scheme sees current students providing a flexible and affordable resource for companies in the UK – enabling scholars to leave University work-ready and with less debt, and giving companies a strong incentive to keep their workforce UK-based.

His vision is one of shared service hubs set up close to university campuses, so students can undertake part-time work alongside their studies (typically 10 hours per week in back office administrative roles across finance, operations and HR).

Government funding can be available for new graduate apprenticeship schemes, making them a cost-effective option.

Members of the business and academic communities will meet in Loughborough next week to discuss the role students can play in providing employers with a flexible and cost-effective workforce.

Academics in the University’s Centre for Global Sourcing and Services will share their research and recommendations alongside representatives from the Department of International Trade

Earn to Learn: Doing the right thing for the next generation? takes place at Loughborough University’s School of Business and Economics from 9.30am to 4pm on Thursday 8 December. To register for this free event, email Ruth Cufflin on

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