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UK ‘bullish’ on ed exports to Commonwealth

It was fitting that a giant mechanical bull that featured in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham was on display outside the venue chosen for the UK House summit for global leaders to address education, skills, edtech and sustainable research.

The UK has an export strategy to achieve £1 trillion of exports in all sectors of the economy by 2030, with an education target of £35 billion

Building on the cooperative spirit of the Commonwealth Games and the UK’s climate leadership at COP26, the event was a platform to bring together business and government leaders to discover opportunities for international partnership and innovations for sustainable growth.

As hosts of the Games, national pride was understandably high and this was an opportunity to showcase how UK exports are helping drive systemic change to education systems around the world by delivering programs that are inclusive and tailored to local economies. British companies displayed their innovative approaches to industry-based skills training and technology that can increase access to education worldwide.

Joanna Newman, chief executive and secretary general of the Association of Commonwealth Universities reminded that universities “are helping to realise healthier, greener, fairer societies, and find solutions to pressing global challenges” through education, community engagement and research.

“This event will offer a timely discussion on the role international partnerships in higher education can play in helping governments drive progress towards the sustainable development goals,” she added.

The UK government has an export strategy to achieve £1 trillion of exports in all sectors of the economy by 2030, with an education target of £35 billion. The summit was hosted by the UK’s Department for International Trade, in partnership with the region’s official economic development agency, the West Midlands Growth Company, UK House is part of the Business and Tourism Programme, the first program of its kind aligned to the Commonwealth Games.

The University of Birmingham is playing a key role in delivering The Commonwealth Games 2022 as a key sponsor, including being the official host venue for hockey and squash; host of the largest athletes village; training facilities across multiple sports; and over 100 staff and 450 students employed or volunteering across the Games.

“Our Commonwealth connections across education and research partnerships are deep and wide-ranging”

The Games will be the largest sporting event ever held in the West Midlands region. Approximately 6,500 athletes and team officials from 72 nations and territories across the Commonwealth will come together in a 12-day celebration of sport and culture.

University of Birmingham chancellor Lord Bilimoria spoke of his pride at the University’s contribution to the Games and being selected as baton bearer as part of the Queen’s Baton Relay events that underpin the Commonwealth-wide celebrations.

“The University of Birmingham is a civic university with a global outlook,” said Adam Tickell, the University’s vice-chancellor.

“Our Commonwealth connections across education and research partnerships are deep and wide-ranging. I am delighted to contribute to this exciting event at UK House which showcases the opportunities for collaboration that the UK’s Higher Education sector provides to business and industry around the world.”

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