From education to employment

Swansea College Signs Agreement of Understanding with College in China

When the country China is mentioned in the FE sector in this country, it seems to be inexorably accompanied by any from a set of other words; “competitor”, “globalisation”, and “skills deficits” are just three examples that spring to mind.

Swansea College, however, has extended a hand of friendship beyond the veil cast by fear of economic competition in the years ahead, and has found another hand to shake theirs in the form of the Liaoning Metallurgical Technician College in Benxi City, Liaoning Province, China. The two colleges have recently come together and signed a “Memorandum of Understanding”.

Hands Across the Lands?

The College on this side of the world, Swansea College, is one of the largest and often described as one of the most inclusive Further Education Colleges in Wales. The College boasts more than 15,000 students and currently employs approximately 1,000 staff. It has both a strong local involvement and a strong international presence, believing that its mission of achieving excellence and responsiveness is best accomplished by enhancing social and economic prosperity for the communities it serves.

The memorandum was signed to reinforce the links that unite the two disparate educational institutions. This is an agreement that will broaden the horizons of learners and staff both in Swansea and in China, and is set to pave the way for future collaborations and student / staff exchanges. Initially, contact was made during Swansea College’s visit to Liaoning in May 2005 as part of a Welsh Assembly Trade Mission and the two institutions have remained in contact ever since.

The Signatories

The person who signed on behalf of the Liaoning Metallurgical Technician College, Professor Li Shenghui, was delighted at the warmth and openness of the people of Swansea, and praised the facilities available at the College. He said: “I will be sending members of my staff to Swansea College on exchanges to learn about the teaching methods used in the UK. There is much that we can learn from you.”

The Principal of Swansea College, Maxine Room, expressed her delight at the signing. She said: “We are excited about the potential this gives students from China and Swansea. Increasing opportunities for students through partnerships like this will enable our institution to grow beyond its traditional role. We are thrilled a group of students from Liaoning will be returning to Swansea to attend the Colleges international summer school in July.

“This will not only be a great opportunity for them to experience some Welsh culture and learning,” she concluded, “but also an excellent opportunity for the College to further expand its international provision.” With initiatives such as this, it would seem likely that Welsh FE will enjoy further success on top of the plaudits received in 2005.

Jethro Marsh

Swing with the Monkey in From the FE Trenches!

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