British Council


International Skills Partnerships are the future of education.

Marion Plant, Principal, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College, UK


Life cycle





Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO)


International Skills Partnerships (ISPs) bring together experienced organisations in the UK skills sector with counterparts in other countries. They aim to develop and deliver an agreed project plan that supports national level policy priorities related to skills development and employability.


The World Economic Forum estimates that as the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, by 2022 no less than 54 percent of all employees worldwide will require significant re- and upskilling. Our International Skills Partnerships help to match partners with similar challenges and priorities, to ensure maximum benefit for the organisations and countries involved. International Skills Partnerships are increasingly recognised by governments and industry as a powerful and highly cost-effective way of building skills. We are on the ground in more than 100 countries across six continents, which gives us unrivalled local intelligence and understanding of the skills issues faced in different parts of the world. 


Skills partnerships have been delivered around the world in a range of sectors, from fashion to engineering and finance. We provide comprehensive guidance and support to the partnerships at every stage of the process.

Each partnership delivers the following: policy and practice advice, economic development support, increased employment prospects for young people, network growth, leadership development, and curriculum and pedagogy development. 


The British Council has delivered over 100 International Skills Partnerships, partnered with over 30 countries, engaged 21 industry sectors, with a fifth of UK colleges having taken part. Over 40 policy dialogues have been delivered to complement our partnership work. Every International Skills Partnership is different and produces a range of outcomes, these have included new models of employer engagement, new apprenticeship schemes, quality assurance methodologies, careers guidance programmes and new leadership and management approaches.

For example, Harrow College in the UK has successfully delivered seven International Skills Partnerships projects since 2010 with our help. This experience has increased the colleges’ reputation internationally and in the UK, and has led to a sense of pride in the work achieved at the college..

Mutual benefit

The UK Government’s international Education Strategy cites that one of the strengths of the UK skills sector is that it can successfully partner with other countries to enhance international skills systems. There is strong demand for technical and vocational education and training overseas as countries look to increase their national skills competencies to meet global labour market demands. This is particularly true of countries that want to develop their manufacturing industries where there is a real and fast growing demand for skills.