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Expanding horizons

Training for post-16 teachers in the UK is acknowledged as being the best in Europe, says David Hunter, chief executive of the Further Education National Training Organisation.

Other European Union countries are looking at how they can use the Fento standards - news of which is being relayed across Europe through Cedefop, the EU body for vocational education and training research.

Mr Hunter would like to see them become the basis for teacher training in other parts of the world as well.

"If emerging countries are enabled to develop teacher training through our standards, then it has to be a force for good," he says.

The AoC, meanwhile, would like to see more colleges recognising that they are part of the global economy and selling learning overseas. An AoC survey carried out two years ago showed that, while about half recruit overseas students, just 20 per cent deliver training in other countries.

"Some colleges are heavily involved in overseas business," says Jo Clough, the AoC's international director. "They do it for educational reasons, and it can be a significant source of income."

She warns colleges to plan carefully and not be too surprised if early financial returns are low. The long-term rewards, however, can be significant - not least in discovering newcultures.

"I have seen lecturers completely remotivated when a college sets up partnerships in other countries," she says.

"It's professionally enriching because we are not always best at everything. There is a lot that we can learn in the UK."

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