Heriot-Watt represented at the 2014 UK-China Student Forum

Tomas Robertson, MEng Software Engineering (right), was one of the eight student representatives from the UK selected by the British Council to attend the UK-China Student Forum

Software Engineering student, Tomas Robertson was among eight UK students selected from over 400 applicants to take part in the 2014 UK-China Student Forum, organized by the British Council, in Beijing.

The 2014 UK-China Student Forum brought together students from the UK and China to engage each other in debates on leadership, innovation and global education challenges, and discuss issues relating to education, student life and employment. The event took place on 22 April 2014 at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

I'm a software engineer and I know there's demand for my skills in China - I would love to come back here and work after graduation

Tomas Robertson, MEng  Software Engineering student  

UK Student Representatives

Eight students from the UK were selected from several hundreds who submitted essays on the topic, 'How can our education better prepare us to compete in an increasingly globalised world?'

Extracts from the UK student essays can be found here

Their counterparts, eight students from China's prestigious Tsinghua University, brought their own unique China and East Asia perspectives to the discussions, while sharing many of the same educational goals and ambitions as the UK contingent.

About the Forum

Organised by the British Council and Tsinghua University in association with the China-Britain Youth Association (CBYA), the Forum was an event held in conjunction with the high level People-to-People Dialogue between the UK and China, one of three formal annual dialogues attended by senior government ministers from both countries, and the UK-China Education Summit, hosted every three years with the goal to agree further strategies to broaden education collaboration between the two countries.

The 16 students from the UK and China presented their findings to senior education ministers from both nations following discussions on education and employability, and the international student experience.

The students were delighted to hear that the findings from their own discussions had influenced the ministerial summit.

Tomas Robertson, studying for a MEng in Software Engineering, said: "The ministers heard what we had to say and they got the message loud and clear."

About his experience in Beijing, he said:"There's an atmosphere in China that I didn't expect - it's a relaxed, exciting place - it's blown my expectations away. Beijing has been everything I want from a city.

"I'm a software engineer and I know there's demand for my skills in China - I would love to come back here and work after graduation."

A closer union of academia with business and industry, in particular the integration of internships into university courses and study abroad courses, was one of the key findings of the UK-China Student Forum, the students asserting that it would give them a better chance of securing employment after graduation.