International Skills Partnerships are the new, innovative way of addressing skills and employability challenges. They bring together skills organisations from the UK and overseas to share their knowledge and expertise. 

What are International Skills Partnerships?

By working collaboratively, partnership organisations in sectors as diverse as beauty, engineering and finance are able to develop innovative approaches and find proven ways of overcoming challenges. Our experience shows that partners derive mutual benefit from working together and gain valuable international experience. Organisations that internationalise benefit in a number of ways, from improving their offer to learners and building their staff capacity to developing long-lasting partnership opportunities.

The British Council provides comprehensive guidance and support to the partnerships at every stage of the process. We help to match partners with similar challenges and priorities, and we work to ensure that partnership projects deliver maximum benefit for the organisations and countries involved.

The British Council is on the ground in more than 100 countries across six continents, which gives us unrivalled local intelligence and understanding of the issues faced in different parts of the world. With our support, International Skills Partnerships deliver real, sustainable change that can be scaled up to support national education systems and improve the life chances of hundreds of thousands of young people around the world.

In 2016 two partnerships were established with Kazakhstan organisations: first one between Westminster Kingsway College, Multidisciplinary Astana College and Professional-Technical Astana college; the second one – Warwickshire College Group and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs of the Republic of Kazakhstan. 

Tracy Ferrier, Global Skills Lead, British Council: 

"International Skills Partnerships are central to our mission to internationalise vocational education and training and enhance employability of young people. They support collaboration between UK skills organisations and their counterparts overseas, helping to develop lasting sustainable partnerships, drive innovation and lead to positive change"

Who can apply?

International Skills Partnerships are open to: 

  • further education institutions
  • training providers
  • sector skills organisations
  • employers
  • awarding organisations
  • skills agencies
  • quality assurance agencies 
  • government ministries
  • universities.
  • vocational institutions (e.g. further and higher education providers)

Multilateral partnerships involving a consortium of organisations have proven to be an optimal and sustainable collaboration model with long-term benefits. 

What are the benefits of becoming an International Skills Partner?

Our International Skills Partners have reported a number of benefits, including:

  • learning from the experience of international partners facing similar challenges 
  • devising innovative approaches to skills development which benefit their learners, staff and communities 
  • supporting a strategy of internationalisation, which can enhance the culture, profile and reputation of their organisation 
  • forging positive relationships with other organisations, including employers 
  • creating unrivalled staff development opportunities 
  • building a presence in the partner country, which can lead to a whole range of development and partnership opportunities 
  • informing the development of national skills approaches with the potential to impact the skills and employability of millions of people. 



If you are interested in applying for International Skills Partnerships and would like to get additional information, please contact our Education team on +7 7172 552 077 in Astana or +7 727 244 41 44 in Almaty.