East Midlands and Chinese colleges sign innovative partnership agreements

Posted on: 11/12/2016
East Midlands and Chinese colleges sign innovative partnership agreements

epresentatives from major Further and Higher Education (FHE) Colleges from South West China have signed Memoranda of Understanding with East Midlands colleges on Friday 5th November at East Midlands Economics Online (EMEO).

17 Principals and Vice Principals from Chongqing Municipality and Sichuan Province in China spent the week in the East Midlands, visiting FHE Colleges in the region, to look at ways in which they can establish close education and commercial links together in future.

The visit was organised by the East Midlands Vocational Education and Training (EMVET)* consortium which received strong support from EMEO's East Midlands China Business Bureau (EMCBB) over the last four years.

EMVET approached the EMCBB for help, as the Bureau has forged very strong links with Chongqing Municipality and Sichuan Province over the years. The Bureau was able to provide support in terms of planning and funding, and also introduced EMVET to key organisations in the FHE and vocational training sectors.

The EMCBB played a crucial role in assisting EMVET in their mission. Through collaboration with partners such as UKTI and China Britain Business Council, the Bureau actively supported EMVET in an on-going programme, providing services such as linking Chinese colleges with those in the East Midlands, advising on establishing partnerships, solving visa issues and facilitating market visits and post visit support. The Bureau also supported EMVET's application for the Prime Minister's Initiative Fund (PMI2), which enabled them to secure funding for the project over the last 4 years.

Geoff Scaplehorn, Coordinator of EMVET, said: "There are significant opportunities for East Midlands based colleges to work with their Chinese counterparts and this week marks the start of an exciting new era. The East Midlands China Business Bureau has provided invaluable support to EMVET, enabling us to establish exciting and innovative new partnerships between colleges in both the East Midlands and South West China."

The links between the East Midlands and South West China are wider than just education. EMEO's Chairman, Bryan Jackson, along with Councillor Parsons, Leader of Leicestershire County Council, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the East Midlands and Chongqing Municipality in November 2007, with the aim of developing collaborative international partnerships with both regions. This resulted in Changan Automotive Co Ltd investing in a UK R&D Centre in Nottingham earlier this year, creating over 200 jobs.

The main objective of the visit to the East Midlands this week has been to forge links between institutions in both regions. These links will not only enable colleges to share best practice, but will also lead to student and teacher exchanges and, in some cases, the development of joint courses. China represents an enormous, growing market for education and training as there is a very high demand for English language teaching and vocational courses. The value of China's English training market alone has exceeded £2.2 billion, and the growth in demand for training in other courses, such as IT, is forecasted to grow at annual rates of 20% or more.

David Wallace, International and Innovation Director at EMEO, said: "China is today the world's fastest growing market and offers fantastic opportunities for colleges in the East Midlands. The benefits of developing strong links between institutions in both countries by exchanging knowledge and experience, are immense and will profit the economies of both our region and South West China. Our China Business Bureau through its experience and links, has once again demonstrated what a tremendous asset it is for the East Midlands."

* EMVET is supported by EMFEC, for further information about this organisation, please visit

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