A SCOTS university is hoping to increase its involvement with China and its higher education institutions.

University of the West of Scotland has formed a partnership with Young Chinese Professionals Scotland which unites and promotes young Chinese in the living and working in the country.

The new agreement will also result in the university increasing its China-related research and cultural activities.

The University has close ties with a number of higher education institutions in China, which see many Chinese students undertaking part of their degree at UWS, as well as providing mobility opportunities for UWS students, giving them an invaluable international personal experience in a new and exciting cultural and educational environment.

Testament to the quality of the University’s courses, teaching and facilities the number of international students attending UWS continues to increase annually. The University’s 15,500 students include around 1100 EU and international students, many of whom are Chinese, who benefit from an exciting, culturally diverse and cosmopolitan learning environment.

The University’s international links widen opportunities for students and staff, enhance the teaching and the learning experience of the student, and enrich the University’s research and knowledge transfer programmes.

Professor Jeanne Keay, Vice-Principal & Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), said: “We are delighted to be working in close partnership with YCP Scotland to advance the development of study opportunities for Chinese students, as well as promote the pioneering approach of UWS and the transformational impact of the UWS-China relationship.”

YCP Scotland is Scotland’s Chinese professionals’ association, which runs one of the leading overseas Chinese young professionals’ networks in the world. The association offers professionals the opportunity to engage in Scotland-China related issues, as well as support them on taking forward charitable and economic initiatives for the benefit of both peoples.

In 2015, YCP Scotland launched the Chinese Professionals Development Initiative in South Ayrshire and Renfrewshire to increase the regional populations of overseas Chinese professionals for Scottish economic growth. The Initiative aims to encourage more Chinese talents to come to study, to support more Chinese entrepreneurs to start their new businesses, and to engage more Chinese professionals in regional economic and cultural activities, building bridges for both regions.

Peter Kwok, Convener of YCP Scotland, said: ‘‘The partnership between UWS and YCP Scotland is an important step to centralise efforts in promoting the learning of China for local communities, while creating an unparalleled career development experience for UWS students and Chinese professionals, as all parties work together towards a positive Scotland-China partnership in West and South Scotland.’’

The Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages Dr Allan Alasdair MSP said: “Deepening Scotland’s education links is one of the four key priority areas of the Scottish Government’s China strategy and we are committed to the further development of educational and research links with China to support Scotland’s economic priorities.

“There are over 8,000 students from China currently studying at Scottish universities, and we recognise the important cultural and social contribution they make to Scottish academic life.

“Scottish students too can gain from exposure to the significant cultural and academic contributions made by overseas students. Increasing numbers of Scottish students are also taking advantage of study opportunities in China and we hope to see these exchanges expand further.

“Through increasing UWS’s engagement with China, and promoting young Chinese professionals here in Scotland, this new partnership with YCP Scotland will complement our aim to strengthen the links between our two nations, through greater mutual understanding between our respective cultures.”

The Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Edinburgh Consul General Pan Xinchun said: “I am very pleased to learn that YCP Scotland, led by Convener Peter Kwok, is formally establishing an important partnership with UWS. UWS is Scotland's renowned university with currently over a hundred Chinese students. The University attaches great importance to relations with China, in which education partnerships are seen as the top priority on their international strategic agenda. YCP Scotland and UWS's joined forces will inevitably promote China-Scotland partnerships in education to the next level.

“Over the recent years, China and Scotland continue to deepen education partnerships through mutual efforts, achieving many fruitful outcomes. I hope YCP Scotland and UWS will take this important partnership as an opportunity to strengthen the mutual understanding and create a new chapter of friendship between young people of China and Scotland. The Consulate General in Edinburgh shall provide support and assistance to strengthen the partnerships between YCP Scotland and well-known education institutions in Scotland such as University of the West of Scotland. I wholeheartedly wish YCP Scotland to continue to shine and achieve more great successes in their work for developing China-Scotland friendship.”

The University has a strong international focus and recently launched its new International Centre, which will enable UWS to truly become an international university that advances diversity, promotes global citizenship and provides a springboard for all learners to contribute both locally and internationally.