UWS Announced as China’s First Official Training Partner in Scotland



In the first instance of its kind in Scotland, University of the West of Scotland has been recognised as an official training partner for China after receiving accreditation from China’s State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs (SAFEA).

SAFEA is the Chinese government agency responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in mainland China and for organising overseas training for Chinese professionals. This endorsement means UWS becomes the first organisation in Scotland to be accredited to provide technical and managerial training to organisations in China.

Principal & Vice-Chancellor Professor Craig Mahoney said of the accreditation,

“The University has a long and proud history of friendship with China. We are absolutely delighted our already strong foundations of partnership and collaboration have been further strengthened through this important accreditation by the Chinese State Administration. This will have significant importance for UWS and for Scotland as a whole, and open up new and impactful areas of activity.”

The announcement came as Scotland’s First Minister was visiting China as part of a trade mission to further develop Scottish-Chinese business and education links. UWS Vice Principal (Global Engagement) Andrew Disbury is participating in the visit to investigate opportunities for UWS in China.

 On UWS’s recognition, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“UWS has a strong track-record of positive engagement and cooperation with partners at a national and international level. This accreditation from China’s State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs will help to further strengthen Scotland’s academic and cultural links with China, enabling our two countries to continue to share expertise and best practices in a broad number of areas.”

Accreditation as an Overseas Training and Collaborative Organisation (OTCO) will enable University teams to deliver and share training for Chinese partners in a broad number of areas of UWS expertise, including:

  • Creative Media: cultural diplomacy, media practice
  • Environmental Health: waste management, circular economy, food safety
  • Global Tourism: rural tourism, cultural heritage and regeneration, global branding
  • Healthcare: Older people’s and dementia care, midwifery and newborn care, community healthcare
  • Immersive Teaching: transformational education, VR/AR technology in teaching
  • Integration between education and industry: Modern Apprenticeships, Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
  • International Innovation and Entrepreneurship: enterprise education
  • Science & Technology: Thin films, 5G technology, Smart City technology, aircraft engineering
  • Sport: football coach training

As an official OTCO, UWS will be the first Scottish organisation to participate in the Conference on International Exchange of Professionals in Shenzhen (being held 14-16 April). UWS colleagues Margaret Scott from Enterprise Services & Employer Engagement and Chao Guo from the School of Business & Enterprise are attending the event to explore collaborative opportunities with Chinese universities, public sector organisations and companies interested in overseas training.

The University’s accreditation follows a lengthy process of review by the State Administration which began in 2016, when our first SAFEA-monitored training was delivered as a pilot by the School of Business & Enterprise to Hainan University. The SAFEA application process has also involved in-country training, visits to UWS campuses and meetings with staff and students. In addition, the University received recommendation from the Chinese Consulate-General and the Education Department of the Chinese Embassy in London for our OTCO application.