Bournville College is to open a £500,000 centre of excellence in Kolkata as part of a drive to reinforce links between educational institutions in the UK and India.
The new centre of excellence, which is due to open at the end of the year, will train local people in ‘soft skills’, technical education and healthcare.
The announcement came during the visit of a trade mission to India led by Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, which included Bournville College, along with other UK educational institutions and businesses.
Organised by UK Trade and Investment, it was the first high-level trade mission to India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May.
Michelle Dowse, assistant principal at Bournville College, said: “We’re thrilled about the recent announcement regarding the centre of excellence to open in Kolkata.
“Bournville College has had a fantastic working partnership with India over the past four years and we’re incredibly excited about the concept of further enhancing our international business.”
Norman Cave, principal at Bournville College, who was one of the delegates on the trade mission, said the college was keen to “showcase its success” and demonstrate what it could offer to the Indian market.
He said: “Bournville College has had a strong presence in India for the last four years. We were honoured to join the Deputy Prime Minister on this trade visit as it will help us further cement our position in the education and skills sector.”
Among other things the trade mission served to highlight the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, the latest phase of which will see Indian community colleges partner with further education institutions in the UK.
The colleges will receive £25,000 for partnerships that could include teacher training, engagement with the local community and new curriculum materials.
In addition, a new exchange programme will see thousands of young people from the UK travel to India to work and study.
The Deputy Prime Minister announced the new British Council scheme that will see 25,000 young people from the UK visit India over the next five years.
The scheme aims to equip young people from the UK for jobs in the global marketplace, through the experience of living and working in India.
Mr Clegg said: “There is no limit on the number of Indian students who can come and study in the UK. We welcome them with open arms because in many ways our education sector is the engine room of our friendship.
“That is why I was so keen to bring universities and colleges with me as part of my delegation so they can extend the unique experience of a British education to more Indian students.”
Other UK educational institutions who were part of the delegation also announced new ties with India during the visit.
The delegation also included British businesses from the retail and aerospace sectors, who were signing deals and exploring future opportunities with Indian companies during the visit.
Midland businesses which took part included Delcam and East End Foods, both of which are based in Birmingham, and Tipton-based Panesar Foods.
The Indian retail sector is expected to grow by 25 per cent a year over the next two years, and the delegation was also hoping to take advantage of an aerospace market which is expected to be among top three in the world over the next ten years, with seven per cent annual growth.
Paul Noon, regional director the for UKTI West Midlands said: “The West Midlands has a long history of robust trade with India. This visit allowed local firms to continue to make the most of the excellent opportunities available in this vast and exciting market.”