CCG to sponsor leading Point to Point and National Hunt Jockey

CCG is delighted to announce that we will be sponsoring leading Point to Point and National Hunt Jockey Ross Wilson.  Ross is from Peebles where CCG is based, and has had almost 400 rides under both codes over the past few years.  Last year he was second in the Northern Point to Point Championship, and is aiming to go one better this year. He is now based in Malton North Yorkshire, and rides out for some of the UK’s leading Point to Point and National Hunt trainers.

Charles Cormack Chairman of CCG said “We are really thrilled to be sponsoring Ross this year, he is from Peebles, and is one of the up and coming riders in Point to Point.  All the team will be cheering him on, and we hope to take some of our clients to the races to see him in action.  We will make sure we keep people up to date with his progress through the year via our social media.

Cormack Consultancy - Market access in Europe

Market Updates

Market Updates


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.


Cormack Consultancy Now working in 55 countries

New Markets for CCG

New Markets for CCG

We conducted a survey of clients earlier in the year to highlight markets where they would like CCG to be present and where we could support them with market entry and partnership development.  Three countries were highlighted: Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, and we are delighted to announce we are now working on developing these markets through our local teams.  Indeed we have already initiated discussions between a UK university and a leading private university on the development of franchised degree provision.  We shall be sending out brief market introductions to our clients and to those interested in these markets over the next couple of months.

CCG Appoints Aziz Boussofiane as Associate Director

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Aziz Boussofiane as Associate Director.  Many of you may have come across Aziz in his role of Director of International Partnerships at the University of Hertfordshire, a post he held for many years and where he was responsible for developing TNE partnerships in many markets including Malaysia, Singapore, Cyprus, Trinidad and Canada.  Aziz is not only heading up our activities in Canada but will also be working with all our clients on the development of partnerships across other markets.

CCG forms A Strategic Partnership with M Square Media

We are delighted to announce our new strategic partnership with M Square Media  MSM is a leading Canadian company specialising in international marketing business solutions to support universities and colleges grow their brand internationally, support the development of regional or global offices and grow international student recruitment, particularly from South Asia and Africa.  MSM has currently 16 Canadian partners, 3 in the US, 1 in Ireland and 1 in the UK.  This strategic partnership allows us to introduce our clients to a company that has built a strong reputation in developing and delivering student recruitment solutions.

CCG to Help Develop a National Student Retention Pilot for Lithuania

CCG and its sister company Retinent have been approached by senior politicians and university leaders in Lithuania to assist with the development of a national student retention programme.  Lithuania has a growing student retention problem and is keen to develop a national strategy of support and tools that universities can use to address this issue.  CCG will be looking to tap into the expertise of its UK university clients to help develop the project.  There will be an initial visit to Lithuania to present ideas and tools to the Lithuanian Parliament Education Committee as well as University and College leaders in March.  We are keen to speak to clients who would like to be involved in this project.

Working with Cormack Consultancy for European and worldwide market access

New Market – Canada


Canada is fast becoming an international education powerhouse.  It has now overtaken the UK as the most attractive English-speaking country for EU students, according to a recent study that highlight the damaging impact of the BREXIT vote on the UK university sector.  It also now ranks as the 4th most popular destination in the world for international students, with almost 500,000 international students enrolled in 2017, which was a 20% increase over the 2016 numbers.


Part of the reason for this phenomenal success is that the Canadian government is, unlike our own, is unequivocal in their belief in the value of international students.  They accept that they offer the country a huge opportunity, and indeed 51% of all international students in Canada intend to apply for permanent residency.


A number of UK universities have already secured partnerships with Canadian universities, with around 5515 students in Canada enrolled on TNE type courses with UK universities, however we believe there is scope for more and larger projects.


We are going to be focusing on supporting our clients on developing partnerships with two different types of university, the first are those universities who are not able to offer Masters Courses, presenting an opportunity for the franchising of Masters Courses , and the second group are Community Colleges, who can offer Associate Degree’s but who would be interested in franchising Top Up programmes, also allowing their students to stay for an extra year and get their UG degree.


On top of this there are also good opportunities for the development of 1+1 dual award arrangements at a PG level, and dual awards that combine in Canada franchise and UK delivery.

Market access to Lithuania

Some thoughts on the German Higher Education Market 2018

Some thoughts on the German market in 2018

This month we have asked our partner in Germany, David Scrimgeour, to give his overview of the German Higher Education market, as we believe there are some interesting opportunities for UK universities and colleges to explore. However, it is important to note that Germany takes a more focused effort than some other European markets (but the rewards are potentially greater) and it is important to have a clear idea of the strategy you are going to follow and be prepared to make the necessary investment to make the market a success.

If you would like to have a conversation about the market let us know and we can arrange a call.

Higher Education in Germany

There are three types of higher education institutions in Germany:

  • Universities offer strong theoretical and academically-oriented degree programmes and a broad range of disciplines. Some universities have specialised in certain subject areas e.g. technical topics, medicine and education.
  • Universities of applied sciences – Instruction is strongly practice-oriented. The course work provides the theoretical background and also prepares students for the real-world requirements of professional life. Internships and practical semesters form an integral part of the degree programmes.
  • Colleges of art, film and music – offer instruction in Fine Arts, Acting, Dance, Industrial and Fashion Design, Graphic Art, Instrumental Music and Singing. Students enrolled at colleges for modern media are trained to become directors, camera operators, screenwriters and film and television professionals.

There are 427 state accredited institutions in c.180 towns and cities around Germany. Together these offer a total of over 18,000 degree programmes.  In the winter semester 2014/2015, almost 2.7 million students were enrolled at state-accredited institutions of higher education in Germany:

  • 7 million students at 107 universities
  • 930,000 students at 246 universities of applied sciences
  • 35,000 students at 52 colleges of art, film and music
  • 2,500 at 16 colleges of theology
  • 25,000 at six universities of education

(Source: Federal Statistical Office)

English language courses – Around 900 accredited courses are offered in English and this trend is increasing. The purpose is to further develop German students’ command of English and their international experience as well as to attract foreign students to study in Germany. However, at the moment only 130 of these are bachelor degrees.

Online education – Distance learning in various forms is increasing but there remains some scepticism about this approach. There are around 100 degree courses available in English at German universities with online elements. The private universities and some new online service providers are focusing more on this area and there have been a number of start-ups and also recent international acquisitions by US groups reflecting this development.

Refugees – The university sector is responding to the refugee crisis by offering courses specifically targeted at non-German speakers and those who cannot prove their prior qualifications. In total 80 universities already have programmes to assist. German universities dealt with about 50,000 additional students in Autumn 2016, not only from Syria, but also from Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries. The German Ministry of Education and Research allocated €100 million for the next four years to help German universities integrate refugee students.

Private universities

There are 135 private universities – most of them universities of applied sciences (see above) – in Germany whose degrees are certified by state agencies.  Around 7% of students in Germany attend a private university and although private universities charge tuition fees this trend is increasing. The main drivers for this growth are the internationalisation of the education sector together with the demand from both German students and companies for more relevant HE and FE courses.

The private education sector is growing at a fast pace in the area of business studies in particular. Private universities now offer 60% of all business administration courses available in Germany. Over half of all part-time Bachelor students are enrolled at a private university.

There is a wide variety of focus, business models and ownership structures. A number of the larger groups and universities provide degree courses in English and have highly developed international networks, mainly for student exchanges. Some universities are targeting foreign students which, in turn, generate a requirement for English-language courses, particularly at Bachelor level.

Further education – Companies in Germany are engaging with private universities more readily than with the public universities although it remains a demanding and fragmented market. The growing demand for further education – “Weiterbildung” – is increasing the need for DL solutions. Some universities are specialised in this and others have not yet begun to tackle it. Nevertheless the private education sector is much more active than the public in developing distance learning solutions for FE students.


There are interesting opportunities for cooperation across Germany’s HE and FE sectors and private universities provide more immediate access for foreign institutions interested to explore Europe’s largest market. The areas of interest include joint degrees, cross-licensing of courses, teaching partnerships and the development of online education solutions.

The main modes of market entry are partnership, joint venture or acquisition. As a first step market research is necessary to identify the German target organisations which match to the strategy for business development in the German market.

If you would like to have a chat about this, please let me know by emailing

Cormack Consultancy - Market access in Europe

Key Recent Trends

The key trends we have picked up across many regions this month are:

Housekeeping: Several European universities are looking at spring cleaning their UK partnership list in anticipation of BREXIT. We were speaking to a well ranked Italian university which currently has over 20 mobility agreements and further MoU and research agreements. They are looking at how to rationalize these and create more strategic relationships with fewer partners, very much the same way as UK universities are developing their plans.

Course Licensing: European universities are looking to license unaccredited course material to either supplement their current provision or launch new English taught degree programmes. Last month we were successful in concluding deals in the licensing of course material for a Digital Marketing Masters degree as well as UK Common and Corporate law modules for an undergraduate programme.

Digitising of courses: There is significant funding available for universities across Central Europe for the digitising of content and as a result there are opportunities for educational technology companies with relevant platforms.

Private Sector and UK universities: We have completed the first phases of two major projects; one is the creation of a private nursing school for a Romanian private health provider (200 undergraduate students a year) and the other is the creation of a university centre focusing on computer science delivering undergraduate and postgraduate programmes (on a franchise model).  We are about to start work on two larger projects, the main one mentioned above will be looking to create a centre which will have 3,000 students (2,000 non-EU).

Europe targeting UK Research Skills

As well as looking at the potential benefits BREXIT will bring universities in Europe looking to increase student numbers it is also clear that several European governments see the potential squeeze on  research funding for UK universities post BREXIT as an opportunity to encourage collaboration between their institutes and leading UK research intensive universities as a way of improving the research performance of indigenous institutions.  Structures are being created that will allow the UK university the chance to continue to be involved in bidding for research money, and extra funding allocated to facilitate the development of the relationships.

Cormack Consultancy Now working in 55 countries

Current International Trends in the education sector

International Trends in the Education Sector – January 2018

The key trends we have picked up across a number of regions this month are:

 Course Licensing: European universities are looking to license unaccredited course material to either supplement their current provision or launch new English taught degree programmes. This month we have assisted in the licensing of a range of material in areas including:

  • Digital Marketing
  • Energy
  • Law

 Vocational Learning: There is a definite prioritising of vocational education across a number of Central and Eastern European markets.  They are looking for support in a range of areas including teacher training, curriculum development and employer engagement.

 Private Sector and UK Universities: We have had two projects we have been working on this month which has seen the private sector link with UK universities to franchise degree programmes, one in Nursing will have 200 students, and the other in IT will have 150.  We have now been approached by two other organisations to help them find a UK partner.

 Europe targeting non-EU & EU Students

It is clear the many European Universities see BREXIT providing an opportunity for them to increase both domestic and EU student numbers, they are also aware that the current governments attitude to non-EU students means that there is also scope for targeting international students.  We have seen a significant increase in Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese students coming to other parts of Europe, particularly CEE.

Charles Cormack

Some thoughts on the European Education Market in 2018

It is clear that BREXIT is a game changer for UK universities; however it is not clear what the rules of the new game will be.  I think it is prudent to make some assumptions based on the type of exit which looks likely now:

  • We will see a massive drop in EU students coming to study in the UK at undergraduate level (probably over 80%)
  • Student mobility through Erasmus is at risk
  • Research funding is at risk and many universities are already seeing academics being tempted to look at universities within the EU to continue their careers and research

As well as BREXIT changes universities will also face:

  • Shrinking student numbers due to demographic changes
  • Continued pressure on international student recruitment bought about by the government’s policy on international student Visas

Therefore universities are facing a ’perfect storm’ when it comes to the international environment. BREXIT turns the EU, a market of over 400 million people on our doorstep, into an international market rather than the domestic market so many institutions have considered it up until now.  As a result, little serious work has been done over the past twenty years to build real strategic partnerships with European universities or build robust recruitment strategies.

This means that as the market fundamentally changes many UK universities are not in a position to cope with, or take advantage of, that change.  But as in business, market disruption will create opportunities for universities prepared to look at the European market and engage with it imaginatively.

There has been coverage in the press around UK universities looking to open campuses in Europe, and this certainly has considerable merit for a number of institutions, however this type of activity will have considerable financial and political risks.  One way to mitigate the risk which we have seen (and are indeed involved in supporting) is the purchasing of Private Universities in markets that are keen to attract UK universities.  In our view the keenness of government and politicians, both local and national, is absolutely key to this strategy and some of the Central and Eastern European markets are being open in their wish to attract UK universities to locate branch campuses in their markets.

A less risky approach is to look at developing high quality strategic TNE relationships with universities in different parts of Europe. These relationships have to be based not only on a good academic fit, but also on the vision of the partner university for its own growth.  We are seeing that many European universities are looking at how to attract more European students following BREXIT.  An event likely to create a new market of around 100,000 students a year.  The fact that these students would naturally have come to the UK means that a strategic link with a UK university will help them in this battle to attract new students.

These partnerships can also allow UK universities to divert international students from markets that present Tier 4 issues to partner universities in Europe. Thus helping both the local university in developing international student numbers while at the same time allowing the UK university to benefit financially from involvement in the education of these students.

Further by-products are likely to include the potential to remain involved in EU funded research projects; as well as institutions that UK universities can develop non-Erasmus reliant mobility relationships with.

However, what is clear to us is that attitudes are changing quickly on all sides. In the UK, universities are becoming a little less arrogant in the way they interact with potential European partners as they understand BREXIT brings a subtle shift to the dynamics of the relationship and European universities understand this shift and many are actively looking at taking advantage of it by forming potentially profitable relationships with UK partners.

News from our markets

News from our markets

The advantage of having local staff on the ground in around 30 markets round the globe is that we can pick up some useful information on how the education market is developing, and how we can support UK clients in getting involved in projects which will support that strategic direction.

Below are some nuggets we picked up over the last few weeks.


The Portuguese government is encouraging all universities to internationalise, and whilst speaking to a number of university senior managers over the past few weeks we have picked up that there has been a significant increase in student numbers from Brazil coming to Portugal to study, and whilst most coming for undergraduate programmes want to study in Portuguese those coming for Masters are increasingly looking for courses taught in English.  This means that universities are keen to develop double degree programmes with UK universities; these are 2 year Masters, with one year delivered by the UK university in the UK.  We already have three under development, and we think this route offers UK universities the chance to tap into the potentially lucrative growth in Brazilian students coming to Europe to study.

Czech Republic

We have seen a big rise in interest from a range of Czech universities looking to form double degree programmes with UK universities, these vary from leading state universities through to private universities.  The laws in the Czech Republic mean that degree programmes delivered in Czech are free or very low cost, however there are no restrictions on the pricing of degree programmes taught in English and as a result Czech Universities are now looking to target non-EU students (particularly from the CIS markets).  We have a number of Czech Universities looking for partners for this, and also for the development of joint research projects.


Most UK universities have seen a rise in the number of US students coming to study in the UK over the past couple of years.  We have developed an innovative model where we license 2 years of undergraduate course material to US community colleges (from the OU unaccredited) and partner the community college with a specific UK university who takes the students into third year.  We already have five UK universities taking part in this initiative and we think it could be a good way for UK universities to break into what has always been a difficult market.

We are also supporting a number of universities, colleges and Accrediting Bodies who are looking to exploit the opportunities created by the opening up of the apprenticeship market in the USA.  We believe this will continue to be a major opportunity for UK education providers as local organisations look to quickly develop provision.

Baltic States

Both the Latvian and Lithuanian governments are actively trying to encourage UK universities to consider them as the base for an EU campus post BREXIT.  They are also actively supporting the development of joint faculties between state universities and UK universities.  We are working on a number of these projects at the moment, including supporting the development of two joint faculties and the creation of a strategic partnership between a state University and a UK university which would allow the UK institution to open a branch campus within the existing infrastructure.


In addition there is an initiative to support the development of vocational teaching which will see the commissioning of some substantial teacher training projects over the next 12 months.


Charles Cormack

How can UK universities mitigate the effects of Brexit?

How can UK universities mitigate the effects of Brexit?

UK universities have led the world for many years in the provision and delivery of higher education to international students. There are currently around 310,000 international (non-EU) students, and 127,000 EU students studying in UK, generating approximately £25 billion for the UK economy.

Providing education to international students is extremely important to British universities and has historically been particularly lucrative, the ability to attract and retain top talent from around the world also enhances universities ability to attract funding for innovative research, and contributions to enriching the university experience for all students.

A British degree is still amongst the most highly regarded globally. However, the government is under political pressure regarding migration to the UK, and has pledged to act to reduce numbers. Unfortunately, this has dramatically decreased the number of international (non-EU) students particularly from India, Pakistan and parts of Africa.

The slowdown in the world economy has also hit the UK market as students from outside the EU have begun to look at other markets such as Australia and Holland, to find high quality higher education taught in English. To address this, UK universities have started to establish campuses abroad, i.e. in China, Malaysia and Singapore, and have established dual and joint degree programmes in Asia and Africa.

Looking abroad

The Brexit vote has put extra stress on the viability of some institutions with around 700 job losses since. It is forecast that Brexit will lead to a drop of around 80% in the number of EU students coming to study in the UK, and threatens student mobility through Erasmus programmes and research funding through Horizon 20:20.

It is now more important than ever that UK Universities look at the EU as an international market. So how should universities approach this change?

They have a number of options.

Stopping International Work

A small number of regional universities may consider stopping international activity altogether. However, in a more global world, young people do not want to attend an insular institution.

Establishing a Branch Campus

Some institutions are looking at the possibility of establishing a physical presence in Europe and purchasing relevant local licences which will allow them to teach and deliver degrees, and access research funding. This sounds like a daunting prospect, but in fact buying a private university is not as expensive as you may think.

Create Dual Degree Programmes (Deep Partnership)

This may be the best solution for most universities. For both under and post-graduate courses, UK and EU universities can form close partnerships to deliver their degrees in the partners country. The UK university would be able to support the recruitment of international students from countries where visa regulations would make coming to the UK an issue, also the likely price differential will potentially open new markets with a dual branding and marketing opportunity. Higher education has always benefited from international student populations and Brexit is forecast to affect these populations badly. The possibilities outlined above could allow UK universities to continue their involvement in international education, as well as allowing local partner universities to increase international student numbers.

If you would like to discuss this further please contact Charles by email at