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First 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).

This endorsement means UWS becomes the first organisation in Scotland to be accredited as part of an elite group providing foreign expertise and technical and managerial training to organisations in China.

SAFEA is the Chinese government agency responsible for certifying foreign experts to work in mainland China and for organising overseas training for Chinese professionals.

Accreditation as an Overseas Training and Collaborative Organisation (OTCO) will enable UWS to deliver and share training to 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: elderly people care 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

UWS’s SAFEA accreditation marks the first official link between China and Scotland focused on training and will help open up new opportunities for partnership working in commerce, industry and business between the two countries, both in Scotland and in China.

The announcement comes as the First Minister embarks on a trade mission, led by SDI (Scottish Development International) and incorporating visits to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.

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.
Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister

University of the West of Scotland currently has links with 40 Chinese educational partners, which sees students coming to UWS from China to build on their studies, and enabling joint research and knowledge transfer activity. The University’s accreditation follows a lengthy process of review by the State Administration which began in 2016.

As an official OTCO, UWS will also be the first Scottish organisation to attend the forthcoming Conference on International Exchange of Professionals in Shenzhen, China (14-16 April). UWS representatives will meet and explore collaborative opportunities with counterparts from technical and management roles in Chinese universities, public sector organisations and companies interested in overseas training.

UWS 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 the University and for Scotland as a whole, and open up new and impactful areas of activity.
Professor Craig Mahoney, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, UWS

For more information, please contact our International Training Lead, Chao Guo,

Scottish and China Flags