Better be British, Scots told

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The Independent Online

Students at one of the UK's oldest universities have been advised to call themselves British rather than Scottish, Welsh or Irish on job applications, in case prospective employers regard them as troublesome nationalists.

Career advisers at Aberdeen University have issued a guide to students seeking work outside Scotland, which warns them that their best chance is to declare British nationality.

The advice has caused political outrage. "Scotland is a nation and not a region," said the Aberdeen MSP Richard Lochhead, who has complained to the university.

"We have our national Parliament and when the country should be rebuilding its confidence, we shouldn't be advising our young people to deny their birthright."

The guide book is the idea of Locker Madden, head of the careers and appointments service, who says his sole purpose is to help graduates gain good jobs by assisting them with application letters, CVs and interviews.

"Some employers might see 'Scottish' on the application form and think, 'This might be a daft bloke in a kilt who will celebrate Bannockburn and upset me'," Mr Madden said.

In leaflets and brochures distributed to students at Aberdeen, English scholars are also advised to call themselves British.

A spokesman for Aberdeen University said: "In the feedback from our business contacts we have been told applicants who declare their nationality as British are more likely to get an interview than those who put down Scottish, Welsh or Irish."