A college group in Warwickshire hosted senior figures from Brazil’s education sector as they were given an insight into the UK’s Further Education (FE) sector.
Royal Leamington Spa College and Moreton Morrell College, part of WCG (Warwickshire College Group), welcomed Professor Roberto Souza, the Secretary of Education for the State of Paraíba, Brazil, alongside representatives from Brazilian high schools and education technology companies.
The visit was part of a programme following the British Educational Training and Technology (BETT) Show, organised in partnership with a consortium headed by Education Together UK (ETUK) which includes WCG, City of Glasgow College and the NPTC Group of Colleges.
It was the first and only exposure many of the Brazilian delegates have had to the Further Education sector in the UK.
The delegation of 16 people visited Royal Leamington Spa College and heard from Peter Husband, Interim CEO and Principal at WCG, about the role WCG plays in educating and training young people to support businesses in the local economy.
They were given a tour of the site before heading to Moreton Morrell College, a specialist agricultural college which is also part of WCG.
They had the opportunity to explore the land-based college, including a visit to Moreton Hall, before hearing from Becky Brannigan, Head of Department for Sport and Animal Welfare, and Chris Knott, from Leamington FC, about how the college works in partnership with the football club on its sports courses.
Education Together UK also presented on the day and highlighted how the organisation supports partners in Latin America and the Caribbean, and how the representatives from Brazil might be able to get involved.
The visit follows WCG hosting students from the north-east state of Paraiba for two months in 2023.
Ayesha Williams, Director of Collaboration and Partnerships at Education Together UK, said:
“We were delighted to be able to bring the delegation to WCG as part of the BETT programme and it was clear the delegates found it very interesting.
“It struck them how unique the UK education system is and how broad the FE sector is. They were very impressed with the facilities and the level of expertise of the tutors, and before the end of the trip delegates were already approaching us about potential projects to work on together.
“The Secretary of State said it was really important for him to see what the students hosted by WCG experienced during their recent international programme with his own eyes. He had a chance to speak with the teachers too about their experience during the programme last year.
“We view Latin America and the Caribbean as a key partner for the UK going forward. We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship with Paraíba and its education sector.”
Ben Fairhurst, Head of International at WCG, said:
“We were honoured to be able to host this visit on behalf of the Education Together UK consortium.
“It was great to speak with the minister about the time the Paraíba state students spent with us and discuss how we hope to be able to welcome more students in the future.
“The consortium is a true partnership of organisations in the FE sector which are committed to delivering a successful programme which brings mutual benefit for not only the three colleges involved, but also our international partners.”