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Taking Edinburgh Worldwide: Edinburgh College’s International Success

Posted: 19th July 2018

In recent years Edinburgh College, along with further education colleges across the UK, has faced increasing challenges in recruiting international students, with increasingly strict immigration rules surrounding student visas.

The desire to receive international students has increased for two key reasons. Firstly, the value of international commercial revenue cannot be underestimated in a fiscally constrained environment and more importantly, there is an increasing recognition that international students enrich the learning environment.  These students help home students and local communities, and promote the development of internationally relevant skills and knowledge. This is of particular value in a technical and vocational educational environment where learning through shared and comparative experiences is a fundamental educational principle.

Thinking outside the box

In an organisation where providing the best possible educational experience is top priority, Edinburgh College has adapted its international business practices to ensure that internationalisation of the College remains a fixture of our strategic plans.

Rather than viewing international business at the College as solely the recruitment of individual students, or running Summer School programmes (both of which Edinburgh College does successfully), the College also taps into its wider resources to create new international business development channels.

The College has had particular success in utilising our English for Speakers of Other Languages programmes (ESOL) specialising in delivery of English language teacher training.  Working with key international partners such as the British Council, Scottish Development International and the Department of International Trade, Edinburgh College has worked with groups of teachers from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Panama and China to deliver targeted and bespoke training programmes.  The key to Edinburgh College’s success in this area is the flexibility of the delivery model.  Courses can be taught either in Edinburgh, online, in-country or combining all three methods to meet the specific needs of international groups.

As well as flexibility, customisation of courses is also important in providing course participants the best possible experience.  We build accommodation, social and cultural experiences into our tailored experiences increasing the likelihood that participants will get the greatest value from their Edinburgh College experience.  From this we build further international business in combining ESOL training with training in other College curriculum areas, such as Engineering, Creative Industries or Childhood Practice.

Beyond delivering professional and teacher training courses, Edinburgh College also uses the expertise of our academic and professional staff to provide consultancy services offshore, for the establishment of new technical and vocational education training (TVET) programmes and colleges within our international markets.

The Future

When considering future international business opportunities, development objectives for the College include further market penetration, particularly in the Latin American and Asian markets, and partnering with targeted local organisations, colleges and universities to broaden the extent of what we can offer to the international market.

If you have any questions about international business at Edinburgh College, or partnering with us, please email

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