HIGHER Education Minister Richard Lochhead is leading work to ensure graduates of Scottish universities can become ambassadors for living and working in Scotland.

Some 76,000 students graduated from Scottish universities last year, including more than 23,000 international students from 180 countries.

A group will be formed this summer to agree ways for alumni to have a role in promoting Scottish business and education.

Lochhead said: “In the past two decades, the proportion of international students in Scotland has more than doubled – we now have the highest percentage of EU and non-EU students of any part of the UK.

“Universities already have strong alumni networks around the world and we need a national approach to complement these efforts.

“Later this summer I am going to lead a new group to identify and jointly agree commitments that will put alumni at the heart of our global ambitions.

“Scotland’s alumni could act as a network to inspire existing and future students, help businesses to export and build connections and promote Scotland’s international messages.

“Now, more than ever before, we need alumni to be our ambassadors all over the world.”