PROSPER MAGAZINE: ISSUE 02 | SECTOR FOCUS
DELIVERING EDUCATION ACROSS THE GLOBE
Instituted in 1862, Dudley College of Technology has forged a reputation for the breadth and excellence of the educational service they provide in a wide range of countries, as well as domestically.
The current international team was developed seven years ago after the decision was taken to not only recruit students from overseas but to also deliver their outstanding educational programmes across the globe. The progressive approach adopted by the international unit has enabled them to become acclimatised to the specific challenges of overseas projects.
The international strategy has always had social impact at its core. Engendering lasting positive effect has relied upon building a strong network of partners, such as the British Council and the Department for International Trade (DIT), to identify opportunities in new geographic territories; programmes have now been run in the Middle East, Africa, India and – most recently – China.
Prosper spoke to the team about their recent venture in China, which was not without a few hurdles.
The College was first approached by associates in China after the Chinese students had been refused visas to study in Australia following immigration changes.
The team were keen to put together a proposal for the Motor Vehicle course for government-sponsored students tackling the two main obstacles: obtaining visas and imparting vital English language skills. Having previously developed a strong relationship with the DIT, they were able to access visa support and are looking forward to welcoming the students to the College.
The relationship with the DIT stretches back to 2017 when the opportunity arose to send seven members of the construction department to Nigeria to upskill 100 workers and empower them to build an orphanage. The endeavour affected a permanent impact on the region, with plans now underway to set up a centre of excellence.
Meanwhile, the College has benefitted from the support of their International Trade Advisor, Heather Crocker, who has been proactive in sending regular opportunities and advice on funding streams which has led to financial support from the Education is GREAT campaign. The team have recognised the value of working holistically to bring the benefits of international work to the wider West Midlands region.
Flexibility has been a cornerstone to their work overseas. Managing an international project necessitates a responsive approach as cross-border timelines are particularly susceptible to fluctuations. Navigating the fine line between deadlines and adaptability has been something the College has become good at over the last few years. The international division has reached a certain degree of maturity wherein the rolling programme of large-scale projects has become self-sustaining.
Going forward the focus for the team is to continue prioritising relationships with various partners both abroad and at home. With a sharp upturn in the number of overseas students studying at the College, accessing the best knowledge and expertise from around the world is vital to providing their students with a level of educational excellence which is truly ahead of the game.