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China buys into UK-style apprenticeships

UK-style apprenticeships are on their way to the Far East after the Government signed a historic deal with China.

FE minister John Hayes visited Beijing to pen a memorandum of understanding (MoU), with both countries agreeing to work together to develop new vocational training models.

Over the next three years, trials of apprenticeships will take place in China and the two governments will support new partnerships between colleges in their respective countries.

This is expected to lead to joint course development and student or teacher exchanges.

Mr Hayes said: "There are already many examples of very productive collaborations across China, with UK awarding organisations, colleges and training providers working together with their Chinese counterparts. This MoU builds on this positive foundation with the aim of developing this relationship even more.

"It will open up a fantastic array of valuable and enriching opportunities for vocational education colleges and other organisations in the UK and China.

"I am particularly pleased with the Chinese interest in our apprenticeship model. Apprenticeships are at the heart of the British government's approach to vocational education."

The two countries will also explore opportunities for expanding the mutual recognition of qualifications and vocational education providers, as well as the joint development of e-learning facilities.

Sector specialists from the UK and China will also co-operate to produce new curriculum material and training resources.

The agreement follows a UK-China education summit in November 2010, in which education secretary Michael Gove and his Chinese counterpart signed a broad partnership agreement on education, and Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the UK in June.

Following his stay in Beijing, the FE minister paid a visit to Hong Kong to discuss educational reforms in the city state and to tour vocational training institutes providing courses in hospitality and Chinese cuisine.

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