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Wednesday 12 October 2016

Developing our overseas partnerships

This has been a notable year for Southampton Solent University and its activities in Hong Kong, having so far included our first ever Hong Kong alumni dinner and visits by our Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Additionally, a number of our academic staff have travelled to Hong Kong in a continuing effort to deepen our relationships with partner institutions and organisations.

In March our Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin, attended the signing of an agreement with the Maritime Services Training Institute (MSTI) of the Vocational Training Council (VTC) to deliver a Marine Operations Management course in Hong Kong. This represents an exciting opportunity for the School of Maritime Science and Engineering’s Warsash Maritime Academy to extend its already global reach by providing an overseas top-up undergraduate programme. It is hoped that the programme will encourage more young people to join this global industry as well as aspire to management positions within it. Student enrolment for this programme begins this month, with an additional expected intake of new students in April 2017.  As well as signing the agreement, our staff gave a presentation entitled ‘Developing Human Capital for Maritime Industries’ to MSTI students and staff.

The Vice-Chancellor’s visit, with the Director of International Development, Jo Nesbitt, also marked our first ever Hong Kong alumni dinner. A number of alumni attended, many of whom had spent time at Warsash Maritime Academy. The gathering gave alumni and Solent staff alike the opportunity to enjoy a delicious dinner overlooking scenic harbour views, while reminiscing about their time with our institution and discussing future opportunities for engagement. Given the strong presence of Solent alumni throughout the global maritime industry, we are looking for new ways to leverage these networks and engage alumni throughout the world. We are looking forward to our next event and are keen to re-engage with any alumni in Hong Kong who have lost touch with us.

In September, Professor Mike Wilkinson, our Deputy Vice Chancellor (External Relations), officially launch the BSc (Hons) Marine Operations Management course in Hong Kong, in collaboration with the Maritime Services Training Institute (MSTI) of the Vocational Training Council (VTC). The Lord Mayor of City of London, Alderman the Lord Mountevans, personally delivered a speech at the ceremony to lend his support. Also on hand at the event was the Deputy Trade Commissioner of the British Consulate-General of Hong Kong, Mr. Richard Flood, as well as Miss Joey Lam Kam-ping, JP, the Deputy Secretary (Transport) for the Government of Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region’s Transport and Housing Bureau. 

Like the VTC, we seek to provide education that supports the needs of industry and contributes to the enhanced employability of graduates. In addition to enjoying a close alignment in educational philosophy, VTC and Solent are institutions located in port cities, whose deep natural harbours place maritime operations at the heart of their local economies. In addition to attending the launching ceremony at MSTI, Professor Wilkinson visited other VTC institutions, such as the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) and the Institute of Vocational Education (IVE), to explore additional areas for collaboration and cooperation between VTC and Solent.

There will continue to be a regular presence of Solent staff in Hong Kong during the 2016/17 academic year, and we will continue to develop new areas for engagement, particularly for students and alumni, in the region.