The partnership was born during the British Council’s Principal’s Shadowing Scheme in 2013, which highlighted mutual opportunities for partnerships between the UK and China. Yangzhou Technical Vocational College identified a need for training in leadership, quality assurance and teaching; Dudley College found that Yangzhou operates an innovative employer engagement model that could be rolled out in the UK. We therefore developed a British Council Skills for Employability project that allowed both colleges to learn from each other and use our joint expertise to take our work to the next level, giving students, employers and staff outstanding education and training in both Yangzhou and Dudley. Visits were held between the two organisations, with a number of delegates from China visiting Dudley College on two occasions, and senior curriculum and business development staff travelling to China to investigate how vocational training is carried out in Yangzhou.
Ten delegates from Yangzhou visited Dudley in January 2015, where they underwent a leadership and management workshop with members of Dudley College’s directorate. This allowed them to share good practice in a range of areas, including concepts of leadership and management, change management, employer engagement, curriculum planning and development, and improving performance. Delegates also got to see how Dudley College delivers these in practice, giving the opportunity for Q&A sessions and sharing paperwork/Skype interviews following the visit.
In November 2015, delegates from Yangzhou visited Dudley, where they underwent a teaching practice workshop with members of Dudley College’s teaching staff. This shared good practice across a range of areas, including pedagogic concepts, performance improvement, deep level learning and motivational approaches, as well as shadowing opportunities.
In addition to this, Dudley College staff have exchanged good practice with regard to employer engagement, and are feeding this into our activities for the 2015-16 academic year.
We see this as an opportunity to develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships between both our colleges, and so, along with the British Council, we will explore how we can continue to work together. The initial next steps we wish to explore are student exchanges. Yangzhou plan to send between 10-20 students for an engineering exchange programme in March/April 2016; Dudley College would then send students to China in summer 2016.