UK independent providers seek export growth

The organisation – comprising private universities, alternative providers, embedded colleges and creative institutes in the UK – will seek to enhance its support for members to unlock new markets for growth.

“IHE members and new providers can add something new to the offer that UK education makes to the world”

In order to do so, it will improve access to UK and international market analysis by collaborating with government and sector partners, connect members with specific international market opportunities and advocate for more targeted government support for SMEs new to exporting education.

The new minister for Skills at the Department for Education Alex Burghart pledged to “champion” what the independent sector does, at the recent 2021 Independent Higher Education Conference.

“IHE members and new providers can add something new to the offer that UK education makes to the world, which has proven so popular for decades now,” the organisation said.

It also proposes to “raise the prominence” of technical education and professional training within UK exports, and focus on innovation and flexible learning with the APPG for International Students, which is chaired by Paul Blomfield MP and Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea.

Specialist vocational education and professional training is “most urgently needed by many of the world’s fastest-growing economies”, IHE said.

Along with improving market analysis access, IHE is also seeking to use its global networks to help monitor and maintain the UK’s competitive advantage, establish closer relationships with IHE’s counterpart organisations in other countries and explore member opportunities for international collaboration and exchange.

“We have some members with some fantastic global [locations], we don’t use these enough,” said IHE chief executive Alexander Proudfoot.

“We have some members with some fantastic global [locations]”

“As concern for public health turns from coronaviruses to carbon emissions, the UK must grapple with the equal weight of global cooperation and global competition in shaping our economic future,” IHE added.

“The natural advantages of flexible models and a focus on innovation are only magnified in such an unpredictable world, while the UK can realise great value in trading on its new pioneers of technology and digital learning,” the strategy noted.

Speakers at the 2021 IHE Conference in October suggested that edtech has a key part to play in achieving the country’s goal of increasing education exports.

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