We offer a range of opportunities over the year, from calls to get involved in our work, to the chance to read the latest reports and gain insights from our partners around the world. Find our latest opportunities and updates below. 

Changing Lives: Internationalisation in TVET

On 6 July the British Council, in partnership with the Association of Colleges, were delighted to welcome partners from across the UK skills and international development Sectors for the launch of a new research paper. This research and paper was commissioned by the British Council, and undertaken by the Mackinnon Partnership.

‘Changing Lives: Internationalisation in TVET’ looks at the potential effectiveness of internationalisation as a mechanism to address current challenges faced by the skills sector in the UK.  

Tracy Ferrier, Global Skills Lead at the British Council highlighted the importance of the research and how timely it was:

Internationalisation in Skills Development has never been more important and we invite you all to work with us to bring the real benefits of global engagement into every classroom and workplace in the country. 

There are seven recommendations made in the paper and the event featured a summary of the research, main findings and recommendations by Iain Mackinnon. Iain commented on the need to better articulate the breadth of internationalisation beyond just student mobility and recruitment, and in particular to understand the varied benefits that can be extracted. He concluded by saying ‘if what we have is good, and we believe it is, why is more not better?

Emma Meredith, Director of International at the Association of Colleges responded to the paper and spoke of their commitment to international collaboration and supported the recommendations. Emma emphasised the good examples of holistic, whole institution approaches to internationalisation.

This was followed by a valuable discussion about how to maximise the benefits of internationalisation of the skills sector for UK benefit and how to respond to the recommendations.

Further comments were made as the discussion widened, including that:

  • The world comes into a college or training provider every day and international is a reality of Vocational Education in the UK
  • Employability is a key benefit of international experiences for learners, something they can put on their CV that is highly valued
  • In a more competitive context both domestically and globally training providers increasingly see the need for value adds to staff and learners, like international experiences
  • Government and Policy Makers not only need to be supportive but be perceived to be by the sector
  • Internationalism is more effective when it permeates and is not viewed as a bolt on.

The British Council and the Association of Colleges are committed to internationalisation in Vocational Education and Training. We believe that the benefits are broad and deep and that the evidence shows this. However we know we need to do more to articulate this and crucially show how internationalisation in all its forms can help deliver better outcomes for learners at all levels, as that is ultimately what we are all seeking to do.

We welcome thoughts and feedback from the UK Skills Sector and will shortly launch a plan which responds to these findings. We look forward to working with our partners in the UK Skills Sector to realise the ambition of preparing our learners for the global workplace.

Please do get in touch by emailing Andrew.hall@britishcouncil.org if you have something to share or would like to join us in responding to this important challenge.


The new edition is out!

British Council’s online magazine for teachers and leaders in vocational education and skills is focusing on “Student voice in vocational education” in this quarterly edition.

We are exploring current thinking and ideas around the role of Student Voice in TVET provision.

We pose key questions: How might we define the student voice, and how can teachers channel it in productive ways? What are the best ways to enable students to participate in shaping their courses? Do teachers require additional skills to collaborate with students in this process? Are student councils and unions merely tokenistic, or part of a healthy, thriving institution with young people at the heart of its purpose?

Read on for inspiration, case studies, top tips and resources on the topic.

Access a copy of the latest edition here.

Contribute to the magazine

Submitting a guest article is a great way to contribute to the development of knowledge and skills in other countries and create potential for future partnerships. If your institution would like to get involved please see our Call for Content.

Should colleges work internationally? 

In 'Further Education Week' Tracy Ferrier, Global Skills Lead for the British Council, talks about the importance of internationalisation of colleges, explains why it is a fundamental necessity and mentions different ways to do it. 

'Diversity is vital for preparing learners for global life', says Tracy Ferrier.

Read the full article here.

Overview of India’s evolving Skills development

The Governments of India and the UK have made Skill Development a priority in their respective countries and it is a key part of their bi-lateral relationship. The current Government in India has made significant changes to the governance of Skills in India, in what is already a complex landscape. Therefore, this report is a useful introduction for UK Skills providers to help navigate India’s skill sector. It provides a snapshot of the skills system and highlights the skills structures and includes the historic background, new policies and programmes, ministries involved and UK organisations working in this sector in India. Read the report here.

International Reflections on TVET Governance - DIscussIon paper

On the 26 September at Spring Gardens, the British Council launched a new discussion paper entitled ‘International Reflections on TVET Governance’. Authored by Iain Mackinnon of the Mackinnon Partnership the paper examines the governance of six skills systems from around the world: Colombia, England, India, Kazakhstan, South Africa and Vietnam. Delegates from the UK Skills Sector heard from Iain on the implications of governance arrangements and in particular how organisations such as colleges and employers have an ability to operate within and between the rules of a skills system to ensure they find arrangements that work for them. Key success factors cited by Iain and the group were:

  •  the need to understand the relationships and trade-offs between different political and strategic priorities;
  • the relationship between local and national policy;
  • the view that the best governance is sometimes the least governance;
  • the way in which government sometimes requires arm’s length bodies to act as mediators with employers and education.

We were also privileged to hear from delegates from South Africa who provided a view on how their system operates under Department of Higher Education and Training. This input provided some interesting insight into opportunities and challenges arising from the move of skills policy to the Department for Education in England. All delegates agreed that it was vital for the educators, employers and governments to work together in a spirit of open partnership regardless of what system they operate in.

Read the discussion paper ‘International Reflections on TVET Governance’.


Being able to operate in complex multicultural contexts is fast becoming the definitive global skill in today’s interconnected world.  

Drawing on our 80 years of unrivalled experience in cultural relations, our Intercultural Fluency courses help organisations, businesses and professionals perform at their best in different cultural contexts and multicultural environments.  

Find out more about our Intercultural Fluency courses.   


We recently asked several UK skills organisations to share their experience, lessons and good practice in short video interviews.  

Hear representatives from the Association of Colleges, the UK Commission for Employment Skills, WorldSkills UK, Semta and the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs explain their unique contribution to the UK skills system and share their approaches to successful collaboration.   

Watch our interviews and learn more about the UK skills system