Collaboration is the key to unlocking the UK’s role in international education
The past 2 years have brought into focus the need for global solutions to fight against global issues, particularly within safety-critical industries such as health and transport. Access to a broad and sustainable range of education services for all is fundamental to addressing these issues moving forward – and working in collaboration will help us to get there faster.
In a world overcoming the pressures of a pandemic and learning to manage new and disruptive technologies, we’re seeing common patterns amongst our workforces worldwide, such as skills shortages in supply chains. These are issues that high-quality, hands-on vocational and technical skills provision can go a long way to addressing.
Our learnings and experience here in the UK education system can play a much larger role in an international context. This is why we’re excited to announce that we're coming together with Chichester College Group (CCG) to collaborate and contribute to educational excellence on an international scale.
Why we're collaborating
With our knowledge as an educational charity and leader in vocational and technical learning, and CCG’s experience in delivering high-quality learning opportunities for over 20,000 students a year, we’ll be working in partnership to strategically understand and share what’s worked, what’s needed, and what could still work as the world rapidly changes.
With the amount of insight and intelligence we've got into what's needed and what works combined with the purpose and shared values of NCFE and CCG, there lies a real opportunity to change more lives through learning.
“We have a desire to scale that reach of what we know to be really good quality provision – it’s what compels us,” says David Gallagher, CEO of NCFE. “As an educational charity that is here to deliver impact, we should want to scale that impact to find the learners – but also, those communities, local economies, and even national economies – in need of opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills, competencies and productivity to achieve prosperity.”
With CCG having over 30 years’ experience in the international space, and our experience of being an approved qualifications authority for Early Years delivery in the UAE, working side-by-side in this capacity is a logical conclusion as two educational bodies who, together, can shape smarter learning globally.
“We're all global citizens, and the responsibility we share as major players in the UK education sector provides us with enormous opportunities to play our part as such,” says Julie Kapsalis, CCG’s Managing Director. “That's why I'm really passionate about the work that we can do internationally.”
Why do movements need collaborators?
So, why is collaboration the answer? Generally speaking, it allows us to recognise our strengths, but also acknowledge where others can do it better or have more knowledge or expertise in a particular area. It highlights where there are opportunities to specialise together, but play different roles within that.
For example, coupling CCG’s hands-on teaching experience across a broad range of disciplines with our leading reputation as a forward-thinking awarding body and educational charity allows us to build more fit-for-purpose qualifications and content, and to do it much more rapidly and efficiently. This means that we can set centres up for success in delivering that provision.
It also provides an opportunity in terms of sharing best practice internationally, helping to create communities of interest through the leveraging of social platforms as a mechanism to aid in the sharing and dissemination of information.
By working together, we avoid treading on each other’s toes or trying to reinvent things; collaboration enables more minds to work together and to go further and faster whilst doing so.
Partnerships and international learning
To achieve the true spirit of partnership, engagement with international partners will not be top-down. Listening and learning from each other is just as important. We have so much to learn from other countries and believe that it's possible to learn from international good practice through shared knowledge and understanding.
“China and many Asian countries have done a lot to uplift children from poverty with literacy and numeracy and education at the forefront of their skills agenda, so I think we’ve got a lot to learn from that,” explains Claudia Beltran, International Partnerships Manager.
“In other areas we can learn from the focus around social responsibility in Japan, a society that unquestionably values the concept of long-life learning where efforts to integrate social responsibility in education with local government and employers have been very successful.
This sort of collaborative thinking also allows us to address bigger questions, such as the importance and practicalities of achieving globally recognised credentials. Partnerships such as ours give us opportunities to think about innovative different ways of recognising and accrediting skills provisions beyond the UK. If people have invested their most valuable commodities – their time and money – to study, it’s important that these credentials are then recognised outside of their own jurisdiction to expand everyone’s horizons and opportunities.
The NCFE and CCG partnership
Growing a partnership between NCFE and CCG became an obvious development once we began discussing our collective motivations. Our goal is about meeting an increased demand for sharing best practice on an international stage. It comes from a desire to achieve a fairer education system globally – to extend our reach, our insight and intelligence to the parts of the world where it’s needed most.
Michael Potts, International Programmes Manager at NCFE, explained: “When we first started talking with CCG, we soon realised there was real synergy, and the objective we had as organisations was to put the learner at the heart of everything we do. We knew this collaboration could develop strong, scalable, sustainable partnerships within the region and beyond.”
The customised development work that NCFE and CCG can achieve together allows us to tailor specific qualifications to regional needs, using all the skill sets of the UK awarding system to bring that to international regions. We can collate our resources in new and different ways to deliver better experiences and outcomes for learners.
Plus, the past year and a half has opened people’s eyes to the many ways to deliver qualifications digitally – it’s a time of change, a time of possibility and a time for opportunities.
A future of opportunities and possibilities
Moving forward, we’re excited for our partnership to hit the ground running. “What we’re hoping for is to identify partners that we can have real, deep dive relationships with in the first instance, that we can then use as a showcase for the collective capabilities of this partnership,” said Steve Bannister, CCG’s Director of International.
In fact, an international opportunity is already underway with Vietnamese college Nova Education. With Vietnam’s strong focus on the tourism and hospitality sectors, our partnership hopes to secure accreditation and certification of the Nova Education Hospitality, Food & Beverage Academy programme via CCG Originated and NCFE Customised Qualification Services.
We know that we have a role to play in helping partners in overseas territories to upskill and reskill. Having access to first-class, customised versions of vocational qualifications will help to achieve these upskilling goals. Working as collaborators, we’ll be able to achieve this more quickly and develop solutions to workforce issues seen worldwide, whilst levelling up the UK’s role in international education by sharing our knowledge and experience on a broader stage.
NCFE and CCG’s partnership is a great first step towards this, aiming to make lives much easier for our partners and new customers, and open up countless new avenues and opportunities within education.
By David Gallagher (CEO) and Michael Potts (International Programmes Manager) of NCFE, and Julie Kapsalis (Managing Director) and Steve Bannister (Director of International) of Chichester College Group.