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UK wins £1 billion exports in Saudi

Mathew Hancock, Skills Minister, UK
London, (UK): UK education providers have won 4 new contracts worth £850 million to establish 12 technical and vocational training colleges in Saudi Arabia. Skills Minister, UK, Matthew Hancock has declared the news publicly.

In total, 100 colleges are being set up across Saudi Arabia as part of its Colleges of Excellence programme, aimed at improving education and training.

UKTI Education is bringing together consortia to bid for these high value contracts and these new wins mean that UK education providers will operate 16 of the 37 colleges let to date, worth more than £1 billion to the UK economy.

The winning UK education consortia are:

· the Oxford Partnership, a consortium comprising Activate Learning, GEMS Education Solutions and Moulton College

· Lincoln College

· Hertvec, a consortium led by Hertford Regional College and also including North Hertfordshire College and the University of Hertfordshire

· FESA, a consortium of leading UK colleges and training providers

The deals were signed during the government’s Export Week in which 3,000 UK companies are taking part in over 70 nationwide events to encourage small and mid-sized businesses to sell overseas for the first time or break into new markets.

In January 2014, Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock visited Riyadh to underline the UK government’s support for the UK bids.

Matthew Hancock said: “These deals are a vote of confidence in the UK’s improving education system. Exporting helps companies grow and are a vital part of the government’s long-term economic plan to create jobs and reduce the deficit. I visited Saudi Arabia earlier this year (2014) in support of UK bidders and am particularly pleased that they will soon be offering high quality practical skills training to an additional 24,000 Saudi students including 14,000 Saudi women.

I look forward to seeing the UK’s education and training presence continues to grow in Saudi Arabia and internationally. I encourage any company with global ambitions to contact UKTI.”

Each provider has been offered an initial 5 year contract to deliver vocational training and employment-related skills to Saudi men and women. Of the 12 colleges to be operated by the UK providers, 7 will be for women and overall some 24,000 Saudi students including 14,000 women will be trained each year once these colleges reach full capacity.

Since August 2013, UKTI Education has been engaging with a range of UK education and training organizations – including both further education colleges and independent training providers - to raise awareness of the significant Saudi Colleges of Excellence opportunity, holding a series of seminars and briefings around the UK.

UKTI Education representatives and UKTI colleagues in Saudi Arabia have also accompanied UK bidders on a series of visits to the Kingdom and hosted a number of meetings with senior Saudi Colleges of Excellence staff in the UK. Bids have also received UK Export Finance support to provide the bonds and guarantees required.

Emily Ashwell, Managing Director of UKTI Education said:

“This represents a significant achievement for the UK vocational education and training sector and I’m delighted that we have been able to support the groups involved in this process.

Along with our UKTI colleagues based in the Kingdom and those at UK Export Finance, we will continue to support UK providers as they operate in Saudi Arabia and show on an international stage the very best that UK vocational training can offer.”

From September 2014, UK providers will operate 16 Colleges of Excellence across the Kingdom following the successful bids of UK providers TQ Pearson and the Nescot consortium in the first wave of the programme last year (2013). Additional Colleges of Excellence are due to be procured later in 2014 and UKTI Education will again be helping to co-ordinate the UK’s response with initial briefing sessions planned in London during the summer (2014).

Ibrahim Al-Moaiqel, Director General of Human Resources Development Fund in Saudi Arabia, said: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is reaching out to the best of the best in the world, as partners of choice.

We are delighted that 6 UK institutions will be bringing their experience and expertise, and working with us to help shape future opportunities for our citizens.”

UKTI Education was established by UKTI and BIS as part of the International Education Strategy to help the UK education and training sector access commercial opportunities overseas, particularly high value opportunities.

Through industrial strategy, the whole of government is working in partnership with industry to set the long-term direction needed to give business the confidence to invest, increase global competitiveness, support innovation, creating more high-skilled, long-term jobs in the UK and maximize export potential.

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