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In an age of sustainability, what is an agents role?

How do we maintain and manage, and ensure our continued survival as a species, let alone our industry, in the Anthropocene age?
March 18 2022
3 Min Read

The last two years have provided ample evidence that our lives can be fundamentally disrupted. In the realm of higher education, beliefs that had been at the core of universities offerings were suddenly in the wind. Only now, are we beginning to pick up the pieces and see what will remain.

Covid hit hard and fast – a crisis that left everyone shell shocked and scrambling to react. But for all the chaos that Covid has created, it fades into insignificance when we consider the next big crisis facing humanity. How do we maintain and manage, and ensure our continued survival as a species, let alone our industry, in the Anthropocene age?

One would have to be totally “unplugged” not to be aware of how crucial one element of sustainability, climate change, is to our communal future, but there are of course, many others. How can economies evolve in sustainable ways? How should manufacturing, agriculture and consumption change to meet sustainable goals? All of these will have an impact on higher education.

A recent QS report for example, highlighted that a significant majority (80%+) of international students expected their university to reduce their environmental impact.

What is our role then, as agents, as we recruit and encourage young people to travel, often considerable distances, to access educational opportunities far from home? Or encourage universities to regularly fly and visit us in country? Is it a simple fix like offering to offset carbon emissions from all those flights? Or do we need to dig deeper and formulate clearer policies and action plans.

At Intake Education (previously known as UKEAS), we have spent a great deal of time discussing these issues. We do not believe that our response should simply be a sticking plaster on the most obvious issue, like flights. That, after all, is very much up to the individual choice of the traveller, and while we may facilitate a route to accomplish that goal, it should not be all we do. We can, and will, of course, strive to reduce our own carbon footprint, and we have embarked on such a program throughout all our offices.

“We can, and will, of course, strive to reduce our own carbon footprint”

But we want to think bigger than that, and as a result, we have taken as our mantra Sustainability through Education. We believe that sustainability, and the ideas that will ensure our survival, are out there, waiting to be discovered, and nurtured through education. To help us achieve that, we have set up our Intake Impact Scholarship Fund, where, on an annual basis, we will fully fund a select group of scholars to complete a postgraduate taught master’s program, in any discipline, in the UK.

It is our belief that by actively seeking out the next generation of leaders, of innovators, and agents for change, and nurturing them through a life changing education experience, we can best contribute to the sustainability of our planet and our way of life. We believe too, that as agents, working within and closely with, communities in our source markets, that we are uniquely placed to be proactive in the search for such future individuals and can nurture the cross fertilisation of ideas that is the embodiment of an international education.

But that is not all. At the same time, we need to look at our own organisation and ensure that we are encouraging and searching for the future leaders within our own ranks. We must ensure sustainability through education within our organisation too, and so part of our Intake Impact Scholarship Fund will be dedicated to financially supporting up to 10 of our own staff to access further education options annually.

It is our hope that others in this industry, who, no doubt, have also recognised the importance of these goals will be keen to join us, perhaps to support our sustainability through education initiatives, or to cooperate with us in finding new ways to ensure that the Anthropocene is not the final disruption for our species.

(Anyone interested in finding out more about the Intake Impact Scholarships, whether as prospective applicant, or an institution interested in being a part of this initiative can contact

About the author: This is a sponsored post from Richard Murray-Nobs, Executive Director and co-owner of Intake Education. Founded in 1993 as UKEAS Worldwide, or ‘UKEAS’ for short, Richard has been instrumental in building a highly respected international student recruitment agency with 30+ offices in key markets in Asia and Africa, serving education partners in the UK, Ireland, North America and Australasia. In September 2021, the company set its sights on becoming the world’s leading advisory service for both students and partners and changed its name to Intake Education to align with that aim. Richard is passionate not only about Intake’s core focus, but also about sustainability and expanding educational opportunities for all and is thus delighted to lead on Intake’s Impact Initiatives.


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