From education to employment

TVET providers should look to international partnerships to boost global success

Vocational education and training providers looking to succeed in the global marketplace could benefit from finding an international partner.  This is the key conclusion of independent research commissioned by the British Council, and published in the report ‘Building skills, building partnerships’.

The research focussed on three major projects: British Council’s Skills for Employability Programme, the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) and the Prime Minister’s Initiative (PMI2), and looked at the impact of international partnerships on organisational strategy and the development of college staff and students.   The report includes more than 40 in-depth interviews with those involved in international projects and 10 case studies. The review revealed that international collaboration is not without its challenges, but working internationally brings long term benefits to the UK, international partners and students.

On the whole, vocational education and training providers reported a significant impact on organisational strategy and practices, which helped to boost their reputation and build strong relationships with industry. This in turn led to revised courses and teaching methods that provided their students and staff with the international experience and skills that today’s employers are looking for – and a major advantage in an increasingly competitive jobs market.

The report includes a number of case studies, which illustrate the diversity of the projects and the range of benefits attributed to them.  One of the partnerships reviewed, between London College of Fashion (LCF) and Yakkasaroy Light Industry College and Uchtepa National Crafts College from Uzbekistan, showed how participation in the project enabled LCF students to learn about textile production, an opportunity that was not otherwise available in the UK. This will help boost their chances of finding suitable employment upon graduation. The Uzbek partners now have a strong commitment to engage with industry needs and demands, and have become centres of excellence for national educational developments.  They have also begun to disseminate the good practice developed as part of the project across a wider community of colleges.

The British Council hopes that colleges and training providers will find the report both informative and inspirational, and encourage them to get involved in collaborative projects.  Dr Jo Beall, the British Council’s Director for Education and Society advises: “The message from this report is clear – international skills partnerships are of huge benefit to institutions, staff, students and their wider communities on both sides. At a time when international markets are becoming more important, it is vital for UK’s skills institutions to develop their links overseas and ensure that students and staff have the right experience and the confidence to use it. We hope this independent research encourages more institutions to collaborate internationally to enhance their competitiveness and their curriculum offer.”

‘Building skills, building partnerships’ can be downloaded free of charge from the British Council website, where you will also find further information on British Council international collaboration projects, and how to become involved.


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