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26/06/13 10:56

Exporting education expertise to China

Scottish organisations secure contracts worth up to £2 million.

Three agreements to provide Scottish expertise in education and training to China have been announced by the External Affairs Minister.

Humza Yousaf has confirmed that the deals – worth up to £2 million over three years – will result in the creation of 25 Scottish jobs.

During a visit to China, the Minister:

  • Witnessed the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the University of Glasgow and University of Electronic Science & Technology China (USETC) to support a joint engineering programme. The institutions already operate a joint school in Chengdu, and this MoU will lead to the creation of 15 new faculty jobs in Glasgow. It will also see up to 90 excellence scholarships offered to Chinese students to encourage recruitment of exceptionally talented school graduates into its first joint degree programme, with an additional 10 places reserved for students affected by the deadly Sichuan earthquake earlier this year.
  • Witnessed the signing of a partnership agreement between TEFL Scotland Ltd. with China’s largest online training provider, Zhi Bo Hong Yuan Co., Ltd. TEFL Scotland was founded by husband and wife team Joe and Jennifer Hallwood. This agreement will double the company’s workforce in the Highlands, bringing an expected 10 new jobs to its Dingwall base.
  • Launched a new training programme offered by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) Elmwood Golf International. Fifteen Chinese universities have already signed up to the SRUC Golf Education Alliance, which is expected to recruit up to 200 students in its first year. Over the past 13 years, Elmwood has trained more than 700 Chinese lecturers and golf professionals to support China’s rapidly expanding golf industry.

Speaking in Shenzhen, Mr Yousaf said:

“These announcements will provide Chinese students with practical skills and qualifications and position Scotland as world-class education, training and research partner. They are a ringing endorsement of Scotland’s expertise in education, engineering and golf, and we are keen to continue sharing Scottish expertise with China to the mutual economic benefit of both our nations.”

The announcements have been welcomed by Anne MacColl, chief executive of Scottish Development International (SDI), who is accompanying the Minister in China. She said:

“The Scottish education sector has a long standing relationship with Chinese universities and companies with all of our 19 higher education institutions, including 15 universities, actively engaged here.

“Today’s announcements have both been strongly supported by Scottish Government and Scottish Development International and are indicative of our continued strategic engagement with China’s government, academic and business community to facilitate bilateral trade between our two countries.”

Professor John Chapman, Head of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Glasgow, said:

“This latest agreement further strengthens our partnership and demonstrates our commitment to working together to offer students a world-class education experience. Attracting the brightest and best students is our aim and the scholarships we have agreed to offer will help us do that. We are also acutely aware of the devastating impact of the recent earthquake in Sichuan so we felt that specific scholarships to help students affected by this tragedy would be beneficial.”

Joe Hallwood, founder and Director of TEFL Scotland, said:

"We're delighted that Mr Yousaf can join us at the signing ceremony and that the Scottish Government is placing such a large emphasis on the growth and global development of small businesses. Without the support of organisations such as SDI and Highlands and Islands Enterprise this opportunity would not have been possible. This is our first step into the Asian language learning market and we're very much looking forward to working with teacher.com.cn. Hopefully this is the start of a long and successful business partnership, and one which will present further opportunities down the line."

Nicola Ewing, Head of Business Growth for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, commented:

“TEFL Scotland brings nearly £1.5m in revenue to the Highlands and has developed a well-earned reputation across the UK and beyond for providing quality, accredited courses for English teachers. As ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs, Joe and Jennifer are continually looking for ways to improve and expand the business. At HIE, we are delighted at this new partnership with one of the biggest training providers in China and, working with our colleagues at Scottish Development International, we will continue to help and support them in every way we can.”

Carol Borthwick, Academic Development Manager for Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Chair of the China International Golf Education Alliance said:

“This is a highly significant development for SRUC Elmwood Campus as it takes a hugely successful collaboration with the China Golf Industry over the past 12 years forward through the newly developed Alliance into full time training supporting the increasingly important China Golf Industry ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where golf will join the games for the first time.”

Notes to editors

Education and cultural exchange is one of the priorities of the Scottish Government’s China Strategy: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/12/7734

A Memorandum of Understanding on Education between the Scottish and Chinese Governments was signed in April 2008, and all of Scotland’s universities now have well-established links with Chinese Higher Education Institutions including research collaborations and student study opportunities.

TEFL Scotland is a training organisation which offers TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) courses across the UK and Ireland. It was founded by Joe and Jennifer Hallwood in October 2008 in Beauly in the Scottish Highlands on a budget of a few hundred pounds. The business grew to £1 million turnover in just three years now employs 13 people in Scotland – 10 in Dingwall and three in Edinburgh - and trains around 5,000 people a year to go abroad and teach English. The company has received ongoing support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and Scottish Development International (SDI) to ensure they can continue to grow the business in a sustainable way.