NCUK Partner Conference 2020


NCUK celebrated its first virtual Partner Conference between 23 November and 26 November which saw more than 230 colleagues from 60+ Delivery Partners and 40+ University Partners, 24 sessions, and countless networking and meeting opportunities over the 4-day event.

The event commenced with a welcome speech by NCUK’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Brewer, who wanted to reflect on the past year, how it has affected students’ decisions to move abroad and how NCUK, its Delivery Partners and the NCUK University Partner Network have supported them along the way.

John Brewer

John highlighted the importance of empowering students by facilitating access to education and the key role this plays in shaping our societies and the world we live in. For this reason, Professor Brewer not only reflected on the past, but encouraged attendees to look forward with optimism and to become future ready.

By improving NCUK’s digital capability to deliver qualifications and by increasing the breadth, depth and variety of universities that our students can progress to, NCUK students will be able to make better informed decisions regarding their academic future and complete their education at a university and course that perfectly suit their needs and meet their individual requirements.

Attendees had plenty of opportunities to network and socialise during the event as many visited the booths in which Universities and NCUK staff were looking forward to meeting them. For those who preferred a social chat and a virtual coffee, NCUK enabled the ‘Social Lounge’ area, in which Delivery Partners, University representatives and NCUK staff were welcome to unwind after attending the numerous sessions that took place over the week.

The event agenda managed to put in place a series of sessions delivered by higher education experts, NCUK Universities, NCUK Delivery Partners, and NCUK Staff. One session featured NCUK’s Regional Managers and Delivery Partners in China, Thailand, and Qatar who reflected on their recent recruitment strategies and how these have been adapted to continue to be successful in the ‘new normal’. Not only did they look back at what has been done so far, but they also shared their views on how to make the most of the many opportunities available to recruit students onto NCUK qualifications moving forwards.

We had the pleasure to welcome many influential personalities such as Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, who stressed the importance of working hard together to maintain the highly regarded UK’s quality of education.

Panel discussion NCUK Partner Conference 2020

Vivienne highlighted the wide variety of benefits that UK higher education has for international students such as the opportunities to work after graduating and insisted that universities should be looking at increasing subject diversity, consider flexible start dates and try to develop AI skills.

Other experts joined the panel, including Tayyeb Shah, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Partnerships) at the University of Western Australia; Professor Jennifer Watling, Pro-Vice-Chancellor International at Manchester Metropolitan University; and Brett Birquist, Director International at The University of Auckland to discuss the future of international education and TNE opportunities.

One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the new partnership between NCUK and Education New Zealand. The new routes established by NCUK, Education New Zealand (ENZ), and all New Zealand’s universities will enable students to embark on a pathway to a New Zealand university education by completing NCUK qualifications at Study Centres worldwide. John Laxon, Regional Director at Education New Zealand, made an emphasis on the amount of support available from Education New Zealand and the commitment from all New Zealand Universities to work with NCUK Study Centres and support students on their academic journeys.

NCUK Partner Awards

The conference concluded on Thursday with a keynote speech on the future of digital education from Gordon Fletcher, Director of the 4.0 Business Directorate at the University of Salford, followed by the prestigious NCUK Partner Awards which recognised the achievements of many NCUK Delivery Partners throughout 2020. Presented by NCUK’s Chief Executive Officer, John Brewer and NCUK’s Market Development Director, Georgina Jones, the award ceremony was a virtual celebration of those NCUK Delivery Partners who have excelled in key areas such as academic performance, digital marketing strategies, student recruitment and many more. To view the winners of the NCUK Partner Awards 2020 click here.

We would like to thank everyone who attended, especially those who led sessions throughout the week, elevating the conference and making it an unmissable event. We are now looking to the future and hoping to be able to welcome the NCUK Global Network in London for the NCUK Partner Conference 2021!

If you would like to become an NCUK Delivery Partner and be able to join us on any future events, please click here.