South West College have established a strategic partnership with Wuxi Vocational and Technical Higher Diploma School of Automotive Engineering as part of its growing international education strategy recently, at its Omagh Campus.

The purpose of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to establish a strategic partnership which enables both institutions to work together to develop and deliver educational and training courses for the automotive industry. It is envisaged that this will not only be to the benefit of both partners, but will also benefit the wider automotive industry by helping to address the global skills shortage.

South West College is well known for its pioneering approach to Automotive engineering across the education sector in Northern Ireland, and it is delighted to partner with Wuxi School to further strengthen its curriculum provision.

Chief Executive Michael McAlister said: “ Wuxi School has an exceptional reputation in China having forged a close partnership with the BMW Group and the Chinese Ministry of Education, winning the delivery contracts for three major projects in the automotive sector namely Sino-Nordnoven Project (Germany), General ASEP Project (USA) and PPG Spraying Project (USA) respectively.

"The school is also cooperating with the AHK Shanghai Representative Office (AHK) and Wuxi Commercial Building Group Dongfang Automobile Co., Ltd. to carry out the development of a pilot project of modern apprenticeship to train highly-skilled personnel in automotive technology and we are delighted to be a part of this partnership.”

The main objectives of the project will be to improve the mutual understanding and delivery of world-class professional education and training in automotive industry skills through joint initiatives in curriculum development and delivery; to enable the partners to benefit from collaboration on curriculum design with the specific aim of developing a ‘sandwich’ programme at Level 4, enabling Chinese students to study for a year in the UK; and to share knowledge, expertise and experience in industry engagement.

The partnership between South West College and Wuxi Automobile Engineering Secondary Specialized School has been developed through the work South West College has been doing in developing partnerships with China and the work Wuxi College has been doing developing partnerships with the UK. Both colleges have been working with Excellence First Enterprise Consultancy, which promotes better UK/China understanding.

The South West College team visit to China in October 2017 led directly to the interest Wuxi Automobile Engineering Secondary Specialized School has in forming a strong partnership. The exchange planned will look at how both colleges can learn from each other and continue their outstanding record as leading providers of this type of technical education. The Wuxi Automobile Engineering Secondary School excellence in training in automotive engineering is well renowned in China and the reputation built by South West College in this discipline is equally strong.