It’s been a truly manic couple of weeks work-wise! However, there’s been a real buzz for me with everything that’s been happening and I’ve felt really excited about being part of so many great initiatives.
The Skills Team at the British Council asked me to help them co-ordinate the Skills Networking Reception that they were holding at Going Global in Dubai in early March. We were hopeful for a good number of people attending with an interest in skills, but given the tight timescales and the fact that many could also have already been invited to other pre-conference events there was some uncertainty. In the end the room was full on the night and there was a great mix of people there apparently! I didn’t attend, but did the work remotely and it seemed to work OK like that! It just goes to show that mobile working is the future! I was pleased that people responded positively to the reception and hope that the British Council will now look to do this event annually as a way of increasing the visibility of Skills at this important international conference. Job well done!
Almost immediately as I finished up with the GG13 skills reception I was asked to help co-ordinate the arrangements for a group of Chinese Principals who were coming to the UK as part of the UK China Partners in Education (UKCPIE) Principals Shadowing Programme. There are currently 12 Principals and 2 Chinese Ministry of Education reps who are out currently spending 10 days with 12 UK College Principals and senior managers. All is going well so far. The UK Colleges have been sending me the programmes for their stay and they’re all taking part in some really interesting meetings and visits. Last week many of them were involved in National Apprenticeship Week events. I went out to carry out a monitoring visit to Barnsley College and will be on a train shortly to visit New College Durham to meet UK FE colleagues and their Chinese Principal. What I have found is that whilst there could have been an initial assumption that it would be the Chinese learning from the Brits this has been turned on its head and there seems to be plenty that we can learn from our Chinese colleagues. There is increasing mutuality of benefit to international partnerships, which is exactly as it should be.
Whilst all this has been going on there was the ‘not so’ small matter of my fantastic new colleague from AoC India in New Delhi, John Philip, having his visit to the UK. JP has been over for about 10 days and has been all over the UK visiting as many of the AoC member Colleges as time is permitting. Yesterday we had a fantastic AoC India strategy conference at Bournville College. With 33 member Colleges we had a delegate list nearing 50 in number. Whilst it’s taken some time putting together both JP’s programme and organising the practical arrangements and sessions for yesterday it has been worthwhile. The opportunity to get people into a room together and start thrashing out issues and strengthening their own working relationships was invaluable. There are some great potential opportunities on the table for AoC India.
In my voluntary work I have a Board Meeting for Euricon in Utrecht in the Netherlands on Friday. I’m non-exec director for the company which is a EU consultancy offering project development support and opportunities. I’m also sitting on an interview panel next week for a senior appointment at school where I’m a community governor and then the day after have my monthly volunteering slot serving tea and coffee at the Alzheimer’s Society’s dementia cafe in Wakefield.
After Easter I’m due to visit a few Colleges to offer my consultancy services and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that along with continuing to work for AoC and NAS on the World Skills Legacy project – especially looking at moving things forward with working on this with India and Brazil.
I’ve neglected the International FE News section of my blog, but I’m updating that so please have a look for information about funding deadlines and conferences which may be of interest to you.