With the support of the British Council and the Thai Ministry of Education’s Office for Vocational Education Commission (OVEC), Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, a group of colleges in Wales, developed a new approach and curriculum for student enterprise and entrepreneurship for vocational education in Thailand in 2016. Now, we are piloting this new approach and curriculum in Thai colleges.
Working with two other UK colleges, the South Eastern Regional College in Northern Ireland and Hertfordshire Regional College in England, we’re providing mentoring support to colleges in Thailand as they implement the new programme, and we’re building sustainable partnerships between UK and Thai institutions in the process.
An early indication of the success of the project, and a promising sign for the future, is our recent success at the National Enterprise Educator Awards in Glasgow in September, where we received an award in the Further Education Team Enterprise category. The award recognises ‘a team of Further Education staff delivering exceptional enterprise or entrepreneurship education inside or outside the curriculum.’
At the heart of the project
Our Thai partners sought to strengthen the Thai economy through the creation of more small businesses and to improve students’ entrepreneurial skills and mindsets to meet the needs of the small and medium sized enterprise job market.
To support this, we created a project that aims to:
- develop a learning programme that could form the basis for integrating entrepreneurship education into the Thai vocational education and training curriculum
- design and facilitate professional development activities for teachers and incubation (start-up) managers working in colleges across Thailand
- provide recommendations for wider implementation.
How we are delivering
The project focuses on some key areas of activity:
- field research with Thai stakeholders including policy makers, entrepreneurs, intuitional leaders and educators, graduate start-ups and vocational education and training learners
- identification and extensive mapping of existing UK accredited enterprise learning programmes against Thai government priorities, college needs and the UK QAA’s Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Education Guidance themes (2012)
- development of a Level 2 entrepreneurship curriculum, comprising three modules: Mindset; Motivation; Business Planning and Models
- action learning workshops to ensure appropriateness/suitability with key Thai enterprise educators
- design and facilitation of a four-day educator development programme for 30 educators working across Thailand
- provision of mentoring support to five Thai colleges to design high-quality teaching materials and develop partnerships.
Throughout the programme, we’ve also identified some key areas of good practice to inform our work:
- multi-perspective consultation: creatively capturing stakeholder views to ensure that different voices inform our work
- robust approach: systematic mapping of Thai policy priorities against 51 UK accredited programmes and UK QAA Guidance
- collaboration: to agree the new curriculum at strategic and practitioner levels, ensuring programme content, structure and delivery approach are fit for purpose
- professional development for enterprise educators: workshops and mentoring informed by research and recognised international thought leaders, and introducing innovative pedagogies.
Developing new enterprise and entrepreneurship education themes
Through our programme, we adapted key enterprise and entrepreneurship education themes for vocational and educational training in Thailand from UK QAA Guidance. These have now been adopted by OVEC as part of the Thai government’s policy to support student and graduate entrepreneurship.
These themes are:
- recognise and develop opportunity/opportunities
- demonstrate decision-making
- build ideas through teamwork
- interpersonal skills.
Developing a new entrepreneurship curriculum
Alongside this, we developed an integrated learning programme that provides recognition and accreditation for the enterprise mindset and motivation learning (which had not previously existed) whilst adding value to well-established practices of business planning education.
We’ve established multi-level, cross-sector collaborations between the project partners in the UK and Thailand. Formal institutional collaborations have flourished between UK further education and Thai vocational education and training colleges. The Thai colleges are providing peer support in new country-based networks, while the colleges in the UK are collaborating with third sector expert consultancy organisations to provide quality, responsive support to the Thai partner colleges.
Our impact so far
Project evaluations so far have highlighted significant impact, including:
- Changes in Thai policy guidance: the six new underpinning themes for vocational education and training have been adopted by OVEC, providing a framework for a consistent, sustainable approach to entrepreneurship education.
- Staff development: 30 educators participated in a bespoke professional development programme that provided underpinning knowledge and practical tools to support the entrepreneurial development of learners; participants reported greater confidence in their ability to engage and enable students and colleagues to embrace their institution’s enterprise agenda, and teams of teachers, incubation centre managers and directors from five selected colleges have benefited from additional mentoring support.
- Curriculum change: the new curriculum is currently being piloted in five colleges.
- Institutional commitment: directors from each of the five colleges have pledged to support the implementation of the new curriculum and partnership development.
For the UK project partners, we’ve benefited from an enhanced international profile, new and stronger partnerships and improved staff development. As an international project, the effects of broadening horizons, experiencing another culture’s approach to work, building new teams and inspiring the development of expertise in enterprise education will all ultimately benefit our learners.
Our plans are to continue to provide mentoring support to our Thai partner colleges. We envisage that these colleges will become regional champions, going on to support other institutions to introduce the new curriculum and enhance their enterprise activities.
Discussions are underway to support a joint award and ongoing quality assurance and tutor continuing professional development activities.
To find out more about our project, please contact any of the following team members:
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai (GLLM) | Christine Evans, Head of Commercial Operations
Hertford Regional College | Nicola Pittman, Projects Manager
South Eastern Regional College (SERC) | Kieran McKenna, Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship