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May 2012 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine

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UK’s further education

Further education colleges offer a wide range of vocational and academic courses at different levels. Not only do these ably complement the provision of the universities, but in some cases, rival higher education provision. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

Course choices at UK FE colleges are plentiful. At Dudley College, choices include BTEC, Access and HND vocational qualifications, explains International Operations Manager, Krishna Singh, as well as English language programmes and foundation degree programmes. At Liverpool Community College (LCC), meanwhile, BTEC diploma qualifications are offered across a wide range of vocational areas. Denia Kincade at LCC says its Access programmes are popular for students who don’t meet HE entry requirements in their chosen subject. “The most popular subject is still business,” she reports. “However, the college is developing courses in green industries, and I think these will be popular.”

Victoria Pyle at Edinburgh’s Telford College, Scotland, says many overseas students are interested in courses with job prospects in their home countries or globally. The college offers a variety of vocational courses from foundation level to recently introduced “top-up” degrees. She explains learners can gain a qualification each year for the three years they study, and benefit from “Real Working Experience Centres”, gaining “that essential competitive advantage”.

Overseas students at LCC tend to like English studies, but, notes Kincade, as the college offers tasters in any vocational subject, this serves as a progression route into the subject once their English is sufficient.At City of Sheffield International College, the majority of international students study English, says Janette Donjon. However, the college enrols overseas students across the board, on A-level courses and vocational programmes in subjects such as dentistry and sport as well as business.

The sheer variety of courses and qualifications on offer can be confusing, especially for overseas candidates. However, Pyle explains Higher National Certificate (HNC) and Diploma (HND) courses are the equivalent of the first and second year of a bachelor degree programme, level 5. Meanwhile, FE colleges also widely offer level 3 and 4 qualifications. Gower College in Wales offers vocational courses spanning levels 3-to-5, as well as a dedicated A-level centre, explains Suzanne Samuel.

Samuel highlights the advantages of pursuing tertiary study in the UK’s FE sector. “Fees in further education colleges are generally significantly cheaper than in higher education,” she notes, adding that their combination of vocational and academic programmes allows greater student flexibility.
Also, says Kincade, “Tuition hours in FE tend to be higher than in HE, and tutors are very accessible and supportive.” She notes LCC has a lot of support services, from hearing and sight impairment to dyslexia, and mentors for students who are struggling.

“I think it is a shame many overseas students do not recognise the FE brand,” she comments, “because we tend to offer a much wider range of services at a better price value. We are also very stable institutions, with more long-term permanent teachers and links to a range of examining boards in order to meet the needs of all students.”

Lucy Whitehead from the British Accreditation Council (BAC), the private FE and HE college accreditation body, adds, “Some of our colleges have excellent connections with relevant industries, and graduate employment rates are very good.” Among them she cites the Met Film School and Escape Studios, which provides training for the three-dimensional graphics industry.

However, TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training Organisation) UK’s Matthew Anderson observes it is not an either/or choice whether to opt for FE or HE. “Studying an FE qualification in the UK can allow the student to progress to a UK university.” A suitable pass at HND can, he says, “catapult you into the final year of a degree, so you end up with two qualifications, relevant work experience and a better chance of success in the future”.


International recruitment

Confident in the quality of their education, many FE colleges are successfully recruiting overseas. With over 2,000 international students, Edinburgh’s Telford College claims to be one of Scotland’s biggest international recruiters. Meanwhile, many others are working from a smaller base. City of Sheffield International College has built up an overseas student base of around 200, recruiting via student fairs, agents and its website, and, reports Janette Donjon, is currently seeking agents in emerging markets. Similarly, Gower College in Wales, is looking for agents in Thailand, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Southern India.

Dudley College is another institution actively recruiting abroad. “We have refined our processes, as instead of having lots of agents in one country, we are going for a reduced number with exclusive rights to recruit purely for us,” comments Krishna Singh. Meanwhile, it is also doing more in-country work, such as its joint ventures in China and India, and training programmes in the Middle East region.

Colleges are also able to call on the help of their representative bodies, such as TVET UK, to help them expand internationally. Matthew Anderson highlights that TVET, which works on behalf of both public and private sector colleges, helps them into markets where access is difficult.

However, new immigration rules mean that while overseas students in publically funded HE establishments may still work for up to 20 hours per week, those in publicly funded FE colleges are restricted to 10 hours per week, and those at private colleges no longer enjoy any work rights (see STM July 2011, page 38).

The Association of Colleges’ John Mountford is among those lobbying for a change to the current regulations.“FE colleges have to meet rigorous quality marks through [the accreditation body] Ofsted [or QAA]. Therefore,” he argues, “they should not be differentiated [from other highly trusted sponsors].”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
English Australia  
Fedele Spain  
Feltom Malta  
MEI Ireland  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
The English Network  

ACCOMMODATION
Generation Estates  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

AUSTRALIA
Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
English Australia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
International House Sydney
Language Studies International  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
University of New South Wales  

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua International  

CANADA
Eastern Townships School Board  
Greater Victoria School District  
Halton Catholic District School Board  
International House Toronto  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Peace River School District  
Powell River School District  
Qualicum School District  
Red Deer Public School District  
St James Assiniboia  

CHINA
iMandarin Language Training Institute  

ENGLAND
Bright World Guardianships  
Camp Beaumont  
CES - Centre of English Studies  
International House London  
Kaplan International Colleges  
King's Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
University of East Anglia  
University of Essex - International Academy  

EVENTS
Quality English  

EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
City and Guilds branch Office in Europe  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  

FRANCE
Alliance Française Lyon  

INSURANCE
Dr Walter GmbH  

IRELAND
Active Language Learning  
Clare Language Centre  
Cork English College /Language & Activity Holidays  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
International House Dublin  
International School of English  
Language College Ireland  
MEI Ireland  
MLI International Schools  

ITALY
A Door to Italy  

MALTA
Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  

SPAIN
UIMP  
Fedele Spain  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses  

SWITZERLAND
EF Language Colleges Ltd.  
Eurocentres International  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

USA
California State University Chico  
California State University San Marcos  
FLS International  
Forest Ridge  
Global Language Institute  
Army and Navy Academy  
Saint John's University  
University of Arizona  
University of California Berkeley  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

WALES
Gower College Swansea  




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