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Coventry University alumni event strengthens China ties

Almost 500 alumni, business leaders and dignitaries from China’s education ministry were among the guests of Coventry University’s largest-ever alumni event held in Shenzhen to celebrate the intellectual value of overseas students.

The event also saw the signing of a Geely-Coventry research cooperation agreement. Photo: Coventry University

The Coventry University Shenzhen Alumni Association was established to support the career development of alumni in the city

The Innovation and Employability event, which coincided with Coventry’s 175th-anniversary celebrations, was the culmination of several months of planning by Coventry faculty and lead by the university’s head of East Asia Strategic Partnerships, Judy Finlay.

 “We are committed to ensuring all our students are prepared for the global world of work”

Workshops were held for those looking to understand the opportunities and challenges for overseas students returning to China.

In 2017 a record 480,900 overseas students returned to China, a trend largely credited to the country’s strong job market.

Coventry also joined forces with the China-Britain Business Council to hold a forum during the event providing advice to students, alumni and companies on the opportunities created for Chinese graduates with a quality UK degree.

During the event, existing links between Coventry and automotive manufacturer Geely were reinforced through an agreement named the “Geely Global Club”, which will see the organisations work together in areas such as talent development and joint research.

Geely Design China’s deputy general manager, Ning Huang – an alumnus of Coventry’s automotive design course – joined representatives from the university as part of the signing.

The university also announced the establishment of the Coventry University Shenzhen Alumni Association to support the career development of alumni in the city and the wider Guangdong area.

Deputy vice-chancellor for international development at Coventry University, David Pilsbury said that partnerships in China are amongst the most crucial relationships the university maintains overseas.

“These ties yield ever more opportunities for our students, and our staff, at home and in China. We are committed to ensuring all our students are prepared for the global world of work including through exposure to different social and business cultures,” he said.

Speaking to The PIE News, Pilsbury described the event as both “unique and innovative”.

“We didn’t want it to just be another alumni event; it evolved with industry in mind and the skills required to meet the needs of Chinese employers,” he said.

“We wanted to focus on the contribution that a Coventry degree can make to students’ employability, so around 440 alumni got to hear concrete advice from the leaders of British Council, CSCSE, Hays, KPMG, Deloitte’s, and we also announced vacancies in a number of top local employers relevant to our alumni.”

“We didn’t want it to just be another alumni event”

Pilsbury added that he hopes Coventry can join forces with other institutions for future events.

Speaking about the Coventry-Geely partnership, director of Education China at British Council Jazreel Goh added: “It is fantastic to see Coventry University and Geely further develop their collaboration.

“[It] will allow them to continue delivering cutting-edge joint research as well as equipping the next generation of design and manufacturing talent with the skills to innovate and work across cultures.”

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