Evaluation of the value of the T4 International Students to FE Colleges and the UK Economy 

In 2013, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) launched a report on the value of international students to our sector and the wider economy. It is based on input from a number of colleges and provides an interesting and valuable study of the effect that current immigration legislation is having on colleges' international work. The report clearly demonstrates the challenging legislative environment colleges have to work in and the damaging effect this is having on their ability to recruit T4 students. This is most clearly and importantly manifested in the drop of student numbers and income from 2010/11. The report includes some comprehensive quantitative data around student numbers and income which will greatly help support and enhance our lobbying work with the Home Office. There is also a strong qualitative narrative on the economic, educational and cultural benefit that international students bring to UK colleges and the value they bring to our home students, campuses and wider communities. The quality driven responsible approach colleges take to international student recruitment is also evident in the report as demonstrated by the number of colleges who recruit small numbers of international students onto a select number of programmes.

Highly Trusted Sponsor Survey

Please find a summary of the results from the most recent AoC survey on colleges' experience as Tier 4 sponsors. We are very grateful to all of you who found time to respond. The replies we received clearly capture colleges concerns as they try to work with UKBA as T4 sponsors. The results will greatly help to inform and shape AoC's lobbying of UKBA and our work with colleges in this area. If you want to any advice or support with immigration issues or if you have any further comments on the issues raised in the survey please contact John Mountford.

HTS Survey Summary (PDF,107.32 KB)

Skills Sector International Activity – A study of current UK engagement
Through PMI2 legacy funding, AoC in partnership with the British Council has commissioned research into the Skills Sector’s international activity. The report captures the breadth and depth of the sector’s international work. The research includes data on the types of international activity colleges and other skills providers are engaged in, key markets, curriculum focus, models, scale, drivers and constraints. The research will help all providers get a better feel for the sector’s international activity and where they can most effectively focus their overseas work. The research will also provide invaluable market intelligence to help inform our ongoing work with the UK VET International strategy. If you would like further information about the report please contact John Mountford or Marguerite Hogg.

Sector Sector International Activity A Study of current UK engagement Research Report June 2013 (PDF,1.69 MB)

UK Vocational Education and Training (VET) – Towards a Comprehensive Strategy for International Development

John Hayes addressed AoC International Conference in 2012. The core theme of his speech was his vision for a more strategic joined up approach for the FE sector’s international work. This coincides with the publication of an AoC led report; ‘UK Vocational Education and Training (VET) Towards a Comprehensive Strategy for International Development’ which sets out the components of a successful international strategy and the issues that need to be addressed as we go forward. The Minister spoke of the importance of the FE sector taking a joined up approach to international work that takes account of the whole breadth of the sector. He emphasised the need for international leadership and better co-ordinated action from government whilst learning lessons from competitors and HE in terms of supporting the sector over the long term. The report recognises that many organisations, public and private, have achieved substantial success in exporting goods and services and in providing excellent opportunities for international students in the UK but that this success has been uneven and that the ambition of an over-arching strategy will greatly add value to FE sector providers’ international activities. The primary means of achieving this aim is the development of a central support organisation for the full range of UK VET’s international work which will help support UK VET’s international ambitions and a brand under which UK suppliers and providers usually offer international services.

UK VET May 2012 (PDF,226.18 KB)

As we progress the strategy will be looking for further input from the sector and if you would like to comment on the report and next steps please contact John Mountford.

International Partnership Guide

AoC, in partnership with Eversheds, has produced a major new resource for colleges in the form of a guide for International partnership work; ‘International Operations – A legal guide for colleges’. The aim of this guide is to help inform the development of international strategy and to act as a route map for colleges seeking to establish sustainable international partnerships that will help to maximise the benefits from international engagement whilst minimising the risks. Key themes of the guide include; international partnerships, the importance of international strategy, assessing risks and opportunities, responsibilities and structures. The chapters include; Planning an international project, Due diligence, Documenting the project, Staff and Student issues, Managing the project, What to do if things go wrong and Ending the partnership and beginning again. Appendices include a model due diligence questionnaire and country guides for some key international markets. The guide looks to cover all areas of colleges’ international work including; student recruitment, overseas delivery, institutional partnerships and exchange programmes.

This is a free resource for colleges which we hope will provide useful support as you grow and develop your international work.

International Operations A legal guide for Colleges (PDF,1.09 MB)   Due Diligence Questionnaire (PDF,105.32 KB)
Country Guide India (PDF,120.06 KB)   Country Guide China (PDF,134.59 KB)
Country Guide Hong Kong (PDF,161.97 KB)   Country Guide Malaysia (PDF,144.2 KB)
Country Guide SIngapore (PDF,118.87 KB)   Country Guide USA (PDF,155.98 KB)
Saudi Arabia Country Guide (PDF,112.76 KB)   UAE Country Guide (PDF,143.28 KB)
Partnership Guide Executive Summary (PDF,265.83 KB)  


British Council guidance on international recruitment

  First steps A pre departure guide for international students (PDF,486.36 KB)   First steps A guide for educational institutions (PDF,545.31 KB)
  Safety first (PDF,1.22 MB)