Europe (EU) continues to be our busiest market, and we are now working across 15 member states. Our focus is on the development of TNE, and we are seeing strong demand from Universities in Central and Eastern Europe for franchised/validated programmes for delivery in-country. These universities (mainly but not exclusively private) are using the development of dual degree programmes as part of their international recruitment strategies. We are also getting the European universities to commit to reasonable numbers (we have finalised 5 programmes in the past few months with initial commitments to over 100 students in year one, with good growth potential).
In Western Europe the demand is more for the traditional mobility model of dual degree (2+2, 1+1) and the universities are using this as a way of improving their offering to local and international students. We are getting commitments to reasonable numbers (Masters 20-40, UG 30-50).
We are also seeing interest from State universities in Central and Eastern Europe for the development of more strategic research partnerships. Universities in the region (Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Poland) are keen to develop these relationships as part of their strategies and Government policy for improving their international rankings. The development of research activity and the combination of their access to funding with UK research expertise are seen as a potentially strong solution.
Demand for Capacity Building
We are also seeing significant interest from European universities and educational institutions for support in capacity building. A number of newer EU member states are utilizing devolved EU structural funding to support capacity building in universities, colleges and schools.
We are currently focusing on markets where we know this funding is being released, for example Lithuania has committed over £1million per university to cover staff development, curriculum development and leaderships development, as well a pot of 200 million for school development. Croatia is providing a budget of around £30 million to support a number (circa 40) of vocational schools to become “Centres of Excellence”. Latvia will also be supporting this activity over the next couple of years.
We see this as an excellent opportunity for UK universities to get involved in providing support and expertise to European partners. We have already had three clients in market delivering this work, and we believe there is scope for increased participation.
Project 3000 Update
Project 3000 is an exciting project we have been developing with Accenture and the Latvian Ministry of Economy. The idea is driven by the tech sector in Latvia, and the wider Baltic region, which requires a significant increase in the pool of highly skilled staff (the region hosts a number of global players who have significant development teams, e.g. Accenture, Barclays, Western Union, Nasdaq, Evolution Gaming etc. and a very strong local tech start up environment).
The aim is to use the development of a number of strategic TNE relationships between UK and Latvian Universities to drive an increase of 2,000 international students a year to the country to study Computer Science related subjects.
We were delighted to bring a senior group from Latvia, including the Deputy State Secretary of Economy, the Vice Rectors of the University of Latvia and Riga Technical Universities, senior industry professionals and representatives of the Latvian Embassy to the UK to visit 9 of our clients in December.
The selection of the UK partner universities is due to take place in the first quarter of 2019.
We continue to work on behalf of a number of universities and colleges in developing projects in the USA. We are currently focusing on two specific areas, one is the development of articulation agreements with community colleges allowing students to come to the UK following the completion of their Associate Degree to complete their Undergraduate Degree in the UK. Whilst still early days the early signs are very positive, and Community Colleges seem keen to establish such pathways with UK universities and provide international opportunities to their students as a mean to compete and differentiate themselves from local competitors.
The other area we are focusing on is the development of the US Apprenticeship market. We believe that this will offer significant opportunities for UK Universities and Colleges to become involved in supporting institutions who are looking to develop and add to their current apprenticeship provision.
We have developed an innovative model, which is based around understanding the provision offered by our UK clients to multinational companies, and then mapping that against the local offices in the US of those companies and community colleges. This allows us to focus the opportunity much more effectively.
We have started to focus our activity in the market and have been actively engaged in scoping the Canadian market for TNE partnerships. Our discussions with Canadian institutions have confirmed the keen interest in developing articulations to UK programmes (at undergraduate and graduate levels), the interest in UK programmes offered in-country and interest in offering Dual Degrees both by Universities and Colleges.
Many institutions are developing their international strategies and developing their international partnerships, realising the importance of recruiting international students as well as offering their domestic students international opportunities. There are significant opportunities for UK universities to engage with Canadian institutions across the spectrum of public and private institutions and across a range of TNE models. Some institutions are also interested in acquiring content, either for face to face or on-line delivery.
We continue to focus much of our activity on the Ukraine and will be taking a group of ten UK universities to Kiev in early February for a two-day event sponsored by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and aimed at forging both TNE and Capacity Building partnerships with Ukrainian universities. UK universities participating in the mission include Queen’s University Belfast, Reading, Northumbria, Glyndwr, Greenwich and UCLan. Advance HE will also be attending to talk about capacity building. We are still happy to include other universities if this market is of interest.
In parallel, we are developing a project with the Ministry of Education in Ukraine which will be focused on improving the quality of vocational education. We believe this will mean opportunities for both UK Universities and Colleges interested in offering training and consultancy to Ukrainian technical schools.
We have been working hard on developing contacts and understanding of the Georgian market, Georgia is making a concerted effort to develop itself as a destination for international students and is largely unexplored by UK universities. We have already managed to get a range of discussions going between UK clients and a number of universities in Georgia.
We are now starting some exploratory work in Azerbaijan and will report further on this in the next newsletter.
Brazil, Mexico and South Africa
We have started to develop our activity in these markets, this has involved using our local partner company to assist with on the ground support and setting up a series of initial calls with members of the senior management teams of universities in their markets.
We are already well advanced with this activity in Brazil and have identified a number of potential opportunities for collaboration with leading local private universities on franchise/validated dual degree relationships, and possible partnership on the role-out of Micro-Hubs.
We will be offering our clients a market overview interactive webinar which will involve our local teams over the next few months.