Taking business to an international arena

Links with educational institutions are exceptionally strong and student mobility is increasing, with opportunities for exchanges with 30 countries including China, India and Dubai.
 
With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India is increasingly emerging as a major global business player. Forecasters predict that within 10 years it will become the fifth largest economy in the world, overtaking the UK. The University of Wolverhampton can help research and identify business needs to support this development through academic engagement, providing educational and training programmes, particularly in growing areas such as healthcare, engineering and technologies.
 
Its role as a key partner for the Wolverhampton India Project, which was launched at the Houses of Parliament last year, is providing the perfect platform from which to launch international business activities. The Project has seen city organisations join together to promote links between Wolverhampton and India.
 
Representatives from the University of Wolverhampton, including Vice-Chancellor Professor Caroline Gipps and Jo Gittens, Director, International, visited the Punjab recently as part of an official Wolverhampton India trip. They were joined by other key city figures from organisations such as the City Council, Wolverhampton Development Company, Ashram Housing, Chamber of Commerce and Wolves.
 
The visit was very successful and gave the University a direct link with the Punjabi Government, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government’s Education Secretary KBS Sidhu and Professor Gipps.
 
The aim is to increase educational opportunities and training, particularly in regard to language skills.
 
An important project for Ministers in the Punjab is the development of a programme to raise English language levels. The plan is for teachers from the UK to go over there and either teach children directly or train teachers so they can do so.
 
The University will be leading on this project and proposals are currently being put together to take this forward, with staff from the School of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences conducting a needs analysis. Other areas of development include nursing, and the University will also look at the rest of the country, to match subjects to regions where there is a skills need so they can assist in meeting the relevant demands of a specific area.
 
Now, the University is planning to expand its international focus in a bid to establish business partnerships across the world, building on its existing excellent reputation for successful work with UK companies. This ambitious venture is starting to take shape with early projects being piloted in India. Partnerships and networks are vital to ensure the success of future projects and the University is working with UK India Business Council, Chambers of Commerce and Confederation of Indian Industries, as well as local businesses.
 
Jo Gittens says that the University is looking to develop international business through Continued Professional Development, short courses and other potential opportunities.
 
“The University is now not only engaging more with employers in the UK, but taking significant steps towards engaging more with employers overseas,” she says.
 
“Our main focus has been on student recruitment and engagement with international education partners. This continues to be extremely successful for us and we are now planning to expand our reach to develop the business side.”
 
She says the high-profile nature of the Wolverhampton India Project means the University will be looking at developing programmes at state level, as well as with individual institutions.
 
Contacts from the Punjab will be making a return journey to Wolverhampton this autumn. They will visit the University and have the chance to talk about industry needs in India in more depth.
 
The Project is also hoping to appoint somebody to look at long-term sustainability and promote opportunities to businesses, which will be beneficial to the University and other partners.
 
Jo says: “There is so much potential for the University to support the up-skilling of the workforce in India. The University has had a strong UK focus with employer engagement and our plan is to broaden this to a global level. We also have much to learn from Indian partners.
 
“India will be a good pilot for this and will help open up opportunities for more work with other countries in the future. There are a lot of exciting developments ahead.”