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TVET UK doubles income in 18 months to £40mn

The organisation charged with growing the UK’s technical and vocational education exports says it has doubled its intake to £40 million in a little over a year.

UK Minister of Universities and Science David Willetts at the MoU signing in Mexico

Contracts in Nigeria will have totaled £900,000 by July 2014.

TVET UK‘s growth has been driven by multi-figured deals with governments and corporations in Nigeria, Turkmenistan and Saudi Arabia. Governments in these and other developing markets are realising the need for a skilled population as industries in the countries grow creating partnership opportunities for TVET UK members.

Contracts in Nigeria to train employees in the oil & gas and industrial health and safety sectors for UK-based Reid Kerr and ASET International Oil & Gas Training Academy has brought in £570,000 in the past six months. Further agreements with TTE Technical Training Group will see the total rise to £900,000 by July 2014.

“With these and other contracts signed, Turkmenistan will become the biggest VET market for the UK”

“That is just the training cost – you can double that for what they will spend on accommodation and living costs to the UK region they stay in,” said Alan McArthur, one of the Executive Directors of TVET UK.

Deals in Turkmenistan totalled €3 million this year in construction, tourism and agriculture services through Europeaid. An additional contract is in discussion for UK providers to provide the curriculum for an oil & gas training centre worth US$15 million over the next three to five years.

“With these and other contracts signed, Turkmenistan will become the biggest VET [vocational] market for the UK,” said Matthew Anderson, the organisation’s other Executive Director.

The organisation planned two trade missions this year to Saudi Arabia as well as a visit from UK skills minister John Hayes in 2012. Its member Cambridge Regional College has established 11 centres in Saudi Arabia and three to four additional colleges have government deals.

In order to capitalise on industrial opportunities, TVET UK is set to open an office in Saudi Arabia next year.

Anderson says that over the organisation’s six years of operation, for every pound it has brought in, it has generated £19 for the UK education sector as a whole.

“It’s very hard to quantify because members don’t like to publicise their actual income from projects as its commercially confidential but through formal and informal conversations, guesswork and listening to what is being said in country, we know our work has managed at least 19 times income, probably much more,” he said.

Around 50 UK-based colleges, private training providers, professional institutes and awarding bodies are all represented by TVET UK. The organisation has two overseas offices in Nigeria and Libya as well as 10 consultants working on a project by project basis in different countries.

Having satellite offices “was never our initial aim as we did everything through UKTI but as we grow more familiar in a country and build our network this is much more efficient,” explained Anderson to The PIE News.

Over the organisation’s six years of operation, for every pound it has brought in, it says it has generated £19 for the UK education sector as a whole

Anderson expects to see results in further deals for members in the next two years after signing MoUs in Indonesia, Mexico, Bahrain, Malaysia and Libya this year. Lucrative opportunities in 2014 include bidding to help the Indonesian government construct 500 community colleges by 2026 and upgrade physical resources and curriculum for 10,500 vocational schools.

And as Malaysia’s vision to obtain developed nation status looms, the government is looking to improve its national occupation skills standards. McArthur said TVET UK is keen to establish partnerships between private providers in the UK and Malaysia.

“A lot is supposed to be delivered through community colleges but they aren’t well developed because they are not well equipped and time is running out,” he said.

Established in 2007 from members of the Sector Advisory Group for Education and Skills (SAGES), TVET UK became a limited company in 2009. Membership is available to organisations, education providers and companies within the UK vocational education sector starting at £4,000+VAT a year.

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