09 April 2016
BCoT Deputy Principal, Jackie Grubb (centre right in the photo), has just returned from her first visit to China wishing she’d gone there sooner.
Jackie, together with BCoT Head of Faculty, Karon Chewter, and colleagues from Southampton Solent University, were there to attend the 2016 UK-China Higher Education Round Table in Huai’an City, Jiangsu Province, China. Ten Chinese educational institutions were represented along with BCoT and Solent.
The host institution, Jiangsu Food and Pharmaceutical Science College (JFPC), delivers vocational education for the large food and beverage sector in China and internationally. BCoT, a partner of JFPC for several years, invited Solent University to bring their experience to the Round Table too.
Vocational education is now a major focus for China as it seeks to train its huge workforce in competitive global markets and this was the key topic for the conference. Jackie Grubb gave a presentation on Skills Competitions, followed by an explanation of the new UK Apprenticeship frameworks, their expansion to embrace levels up to Masters, and the funding and employer arrangements.
Professor Mike Wilkinson complemented this with a talk about Solent University, their learning and teaching strategy, their approach to employability for students, and the development of Higher and Degree Apprenticeships in construction, business, and health and social care.
At the Round Table, Jackie was pleased to sign a number of collaboration agreements with some of the Chinese organisations attending.
During their trip, the visitors also had a little time to explore, touring the first class facilities at JFPCs large campus, local museums and a canal visit. On their last day, they also visited Wuxi Idea Garden Hotel, a five star hotel run entirely by students. Jackie said she was treated “like royalty” by everyone they met – but did admit to feeling a little nervous at a very formal Western-style banquet where all the Chinese guests watched her every move to learn Western dinner etiquette!
On returning from the trip, Jackie said “It has been an honour to visit JFPC and further strengthen our existing partnership. It was a pleasure to work so closely with colleagues from Solent on this visit and we are delighted to be working together with them to strengthen progression arrangements for BCoT learners.”
Mike also said “This was an excellent opportunity to discuss more about the approach of China to skills through higher education and how it can learn from existing and new approaches in the UK. The UK could learn from the amount of funding being invested if it wishes to improve international competitiveness and productivity. On the other hand, China can learn from our approaches to working closely with employers and the development of soft and cultural skills required in the international work place.”
Jackie added “This was not only the best professional development experience of my career, I think it was one of the best personal experiences I have had. I really wish I had made the trip sooner!”