An award-winning International Skills Partnership between Yemen and the UK has helped to deliver a step-change in the quality of vocational education and training in Yemen.

Our objective

Our International Skills Partnerships bring together experienced organisations in the UK skills sector with counterparts in other countries to deliver skills development projects.  This partnership, led by the Hoban Technical Industrial Institute in Yemen and Dudley College in the UK, set out to adapt UK educational quality assurance methodologies for the Yemeni context, to deliver an enhanced experience for Yemeni students. 

Our strategy

Thanks to the dedication and imagination of those involved in the partnership, educational quality assurance approaches were designed and embedded into day-to-day practice at the Hoban Institute. 

The approaches which are standard in the UK, such as conducting lesson observations and establishing formal channels for student feedback, were entirely new in the Yemeni vocational education and training system. 

Our impact


The impact on the teaching and learning of the Institute so impressed the Ministry of Education that it helped facilitate the roll-out of the practices to 13 other vocational education institutes in Yemen. The resulting improvement in standards has directly contributed to the enhanced skills and employability of thousands of young Yemenis – with clear social and economic benefits for the country.

Moreover, the tangible results of these approaches have informed the Yemeni government’s thinking more broadly, helping to shape national policy in the crucial area of quality assurance in skills education. This has had benefits for all students engaging in vocational education and training nationwide. 

The achievements of the partnership were recognised in 2013 when it was awarded the British Council’s International Skills Partnership of the Year Award.

We are working with talented and dedicated introduce reforms based on the UK system but tailored to the specific needs of our country and current situation."

(Nawaf Shamsan, former Director of the British Council in Yemen)


For Dudley College the partnership with Hoban has had major benefits, helping to build the capacity of core staff by challenging them to deliver results in an environment profoundly different from their own.

The partnership enabled Dudley to build an international network of key contacts, enhance their understanding of different cultural contexts and identify new business opportunities internationally. Sanjeev Ohri, Director of Worldwide Operations at Dudley said, "British Council has enabled us to develop on a truly global basis."

Encouraging international exchange

The International Skills Partnership is part of a broader engagement between the Yemeni Government and the British Council, together with the 'real and active partner’ of the Yemeni private sector. This engagement has included:

  • establishing English in the core curriculum of Yemen’s schools and colleges
  • embedding innovation and enterprise into the college curricula in Yemen
  • attracting invention submissions from talented students at technical colleges across Yemen for the British Council’s Best Innovation Award for Technical Graduates (these are evaluated by a panel led by the Yemeni Education Minister).

All of this work helps to showcase the UK, not only in Yemen but in the wider region and globally, as a leader in vocational education and training. The UK is a key partner in tackling skills and employability challenges, which can take different forms in different cultural contexts, but which are often very similar at heart.