NCUK Partner Conference 2019


On the 18th and 19th of November, we had the pleasure once more of organising and delivering the NCUK Partner Conference. This annual event was hosted by the University of Bradford and welcomed over 70 NCUK delegates from more than 35 countries as well as university representatives.

The Partner Conference is a major opportunity for the NCUK Global Network to come together and work towards delivering the best qualifications in order to help students from across the world achieve their dream of progressing to university.

partner conference

The event began with a welcoming address by Professor Shirley Congdon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bradford and followed with a speech by NCUK’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Brewer. Professor John highlighted the importance and the enormous value in international higher education and reflected on the success that NCUK has had in making possible that thousands of students gain access every year to some of the best universities in the world.

In the many workshops delivered over the course of two days, attendees were able to gain a better understanding of NCUK’s future plans as well as taking part in many informative sessions on student motivation, product development and insights on current international study trends.

We were also delighted to have our partners, The Access Platform the software behind our ambassador chat platform, co-host a session on the power of influencers and how to use these for student recruitment with NCUK’s Marketing Manager, Ben Cunliffe. In today’s competitive market, students make decisions about their future using methods that until recently didn’t exist. This was an excellent opportunity for NCUK partners to discover some of the modern and emerging recruitment tools that TAP Influence presented them with.

The session was followed by a student panel in which Mark Garratt, Director of External Affairs at the University of Bradford, asked international students from different backgrounds what influenced their decision of studying abroad. Partners had the chance to ask these students what motivated them and how they think new technologies have an impact on how students research their international study options.


NCUK Product Development Manager, Dan Whalley, provided guests with an update on NCUK’s new products and announced the International Year Two qualification (launching in 2020), which will allow students to take the first two years of a UK degree locally and will enable them to take their final year at a UK university. As it already happens with the International Year One qualification, the International Year Two will be a very interesting option for students who are looking for a more affordable way of obtaining a full UK bachelor’s degree but at the same time, would like to be able to take a year abroad and have an international study experience.


This was my first time attending the NCUK Partner Conference and I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding professional development experiences I’ve had for some time. The opportunity to interact and share ideas with NCUK colleagues, representatives from NCUK partner universities, and delivery partners from all over the world, ensured that the three days we spent together in Bradford will leave a lasting legacy when I return to my centre in China.

Adam McRoy, Cogdel Chengdu


On Tuesday, NCUK Academic Operations Director, Suraiya Arshad delivered a session which aimed to answer questions around how to get the best out of our students and how can NCUK and the NCUK Global Network can support them in getting the best possible results. Suraiya was accompanied by NCUK partners from Brookstone International Foundation School who have a proven track record in delivering NCUK qualifications with excellent academic results.

This was followed by a presentation delivered by NCUK Academic Project Manager, Gill Reindl and International Partnerships Manager at the University of Aston, Jane Dunn, which dealt with employability on the Higher Education landscape. Partners were invited to explore how employability can become an effective and integral part of the long-term teaching and learning strategy and future product development. They were also presented with the outcome of the UK Universities recently published survey which showed that students rank careers and employability high amongst factors influencing graduate study choice.

By highlighting the importance of not only working together during the Partner Conference but also of collaborating closer throughout the year, Suraiya Arshad encouraged NCUK partners to make use of the many tools that NCUK provides them with as well as focusing on some key ideas that will influence the strategic direction of NCUK.

In addition to the excellent progression routes to UK Universities (including their various campuses abroad), NCUK offers progression routes for students to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. NCUK’s Market Development Manager Amy-Rose Cauley and University Partnership Manager Kasia Cakala provided guests with an insightful overview of what is available and how this can be successfully marketed to new and prospective students.

The ever-changing global education landscape means that studying a UK degree doesn’t always have to be done in the UK. Maria McKenna, NCUK Regional Director, presented these opportunities available across the NCUK Network with Fionn Brennan, International Pathways Manager, who provided attendees with an overview of Queen Mary Malta Campus. Michael Bissell, Deputy Head of International Recruitment had also a fantastic opportunity of giving an overview of the future developments at the University of Birmingham and its Dubai campus.


Market Development Director, Georgina Jones was delighted to be able to present NCUK’s Delivery Partners with a stand-alone English Language Test for potential students seeking proof of English for visa purposes. NCUK will be launching a CEFR recognised, UKVI accepted test solution with optional preparation support of flexible duration.

The Partner Conference concluded with the eagerly awaited Prize Awards which added the finishing touch to two days of networking, workshops and meeting with representatives from all over the world.

NCUK would like to especially thank the University of Bradford for being a fantastic host, providing the NCUK Global Network with a memorable Partner Conference.

Are you interested in attending next year’s event? Click here and become an NCUK Delivery Partner today!