Changing lives: Internationalising the Skills Sector

The British Council commissioned this study to understand “the potential effectiveness of internationalisation as a mechanism to address current challenges faced by the skills sector in the UK”, and to understand “how a cohesive internationalisation strategy can be best implemented and to what purposes.”

The British Council defined “internationalisation” broadly. It wanted to go beyond attracting the high profile activities of international students and running programmes overseas, to include any activity in the skills field which reflects an international perspective.

In order to focus the work we identified six themes of key current and future importance to the UK Skills Sector, and explored to what extent internationalisation makes, or can make, a valuable contribution to each of them:

  • encouraging students to aspire
  • teaching and learning – i.e. continuous improvement in teaching and learning
  • staff retention and motivation
  • meeting local needs better – covering both devolution, and meeting employers’ needs
  • greater financial security
  • promoting inclusion and diversity.

We did not present them in any priority order. All struck a chord to a great or lesser extent, but much the strongest connection was made with (a) benefits for students, (b) financial advantage – both making a profit, and winning project funding, and (c) benefits for staff.