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Sector unites to export FE and make UK a 'global leader'

The UK Skills Partnership has been created to boost the export of technical and vocational education and training, thanks to the Department for International Trade, the AoC, AELP, the British Council and the Federation of Awarding Bodies

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The UK Skills Partnership has been created to boost the export of technical and vocational education and training, thanks to the Department for International Trade, the AoC, AELP, the British Council and the Federation of Awarding Bodies

An alliance of organisations has been created to build a coherent package of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for the export market with a view to putting the UK at the forefront of international skills provision, Tes can reveal.

The Department for International Trade has joined forces with the Association of Colleges, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, the British Council, the Federation of Awarding Bodies (FAB) and the UK Skills Federation to create the UK Skills Partnership, which will be formally launched in October.

FAB chief executive Stephen Wright said the partnership was “well-placed to establish the UK as the global leader in TVET in the 2020s”. “The UK has a strong reputation and is well-placed to take a leading role in the emerging international TVET market due to well-written, ‘world-class’ standards, qualifications that have international currency and excellent training skills,” he added.

Speaking at a Westminster Education Forum event earlier this month, Jonathan Ledger, global TVET specialist at the Department for International Trade, said that while Germany had been successful in promoting its technical education overseas, the UK potentially has more to offer if it can explain its provision in simpler terms: “We’re too quick to run around the world and tell them how complex TVET is. Actually, it kind of undermines what we’re doing overseas.

“The Department for International Trade is working really hard now with its partners to be able to clean up what TVET looks like and how it’s presented to the rest of the world, so that we stand a better chance. If the Germans have a system whereby it works in Germany but not elsewhere, but they’re really good at selling it, what are we doing wrong? We have a much better system but we don’t seem to be selling it as well as we could do.”

Paul Warner, director of research and development at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers, said the FE sector was “waking up to the fact that we can have a strategic approach to what we’re doing”. “At the moment we’re all trying to do little bits on our own. We can do so much more with some of our partners working together,” he added.

Emma Meredith, the AoC’s international director, said: “Our sector has significant expertise in delivering education and training to a structured and standardised curriculum and quality framework – expertise we can offer to other countries and best practice that we can share.”

This is an edited version of an article in the 28 July edition of Tes. Subscribers can read the full story here. To subscribe, click here. To download the digital edition, Android users can click here and iOS users can click hereTes magazine is available at all good newsagents.

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