Biggest ever UK NARIC conference: DIT, MillionPlus, AoC discuss post-Brexit prospects
Over 450 delegates attended UK NARIC 2016 in London 21/22 November, our 20th and biggest ever annual conference.
‘Global connections, new directions’ was the conference theme, and a new UK NARIC service, Global Connect, was launched to facilitate new collaborations, particularly in China and the MENA region.
A 15-strong delegation from China attended conference, including representatives from the China national agency for education development (CSDP) and several leading Chinese universities. The delegation met with UK universities and colleges while at conference to discuss capacity building projects and collaborations, and UK NARIC facilitated a week of meetings and campus visits with UK institutions.
Also underlining the global partnerships theme, conference was attended by the secretary general of the Association of Arab Universities (AARU), Dr Sultan Abu-Orabi, who spoke on the day 2 plenary panel and who presented alongside UK NARIC a workshop on opportunities in the MENA region.
The director for education at the UK Government’s new Department for International Trade, Geoff Gladding, addressed conference and emphasised the support available for ‘education exports’.
Julie Mercer, the global industry leader for education at consultants Deloitte, who works with diverse institutions across the education sector and with Deloitte colleagues internationally, gave an overview of the emerging political challenges and how opportunities can still be found amidst uncertainty.
Pam Tatlow, chief executive of MillionPlus, and Emma Meredith, the new international director of the Association of Colleges, were on our experts' panel for a lively question time session on day 2. Pam Tatlow expressed doubt that the coming fall in EU student numbers could be covered by a rise in non-EU recruitment. Emma Meredith said that the Erasmus programme was very valuable to the college sector and that we should be trying to ensure it continues, 'post-Brexit'.
Dr Sultan Abu-Orabi emphasised that there is goodwill towards the UK in the MENA region and a desire to see the UK play a constructive role in development and stabilisation; this presents a positive backdrop for education links and collaboration.
Lee Bartlett of Fragomen expressed his view that the Home Office is moving towards differentiation between institutions on student visas and that this will become a major part of the international recruitment landscape; compliance performance may be a key measure in determining institutional 'privileges'.
Over 50 specialist workshops were delivered over the two days of conference, ranging over international strategy, positioning and marketing; Tier 4, English proficiency issues, immigration policy and compliance; planning for a 'post-Brexit' future; improving the international student experience; and panel sessions specifically geared to further education, examining the challenges facing the FE sector, and learning lessons from successful internationalisation projects from colleges.
This year, over 60 people missed out on conference, wanting to book and going on the waiting list, but missing out because we were full. We are currently finalising venues and dates for UK NARIC 2017 (location will be London once again) - if you wish to register now to guarantee your 2017 place or places then email email@example.com - your account handler can also advise on free and paid-for conference places.
Thank you to conference delegates who have completed the online conference feedback survey. The survey has a prize draw for £50 in Amazon vouchers. The survey email has links to conference workshop presentations and handouts, and these can also be viewed and downloaded via the Loopd conference app.
CPD continuous professional development hours are available for attendance at UK NARIC conference. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to obtain your certificates.