You would have to go a long way in MK to find someone who has never heard of Milton Keynes College.
But the college’s good name is spreading far beyond the realms of our favourite city – and all the way to China and the Middle East.
MK College has leapt into an elite group of English language course providers after maintaining a solid British Council accreditation and achieving the prestigious El Gazette ‘Centre of Excellence’ status.
And now a college that once only attracted people from MK and surrounding areas is becoming a popular choice for students across the world.
Matthew Gordon, head of international development (pictured), said: “Our international reputation has grown incredibly over the last year.
“The British Council accreditation and El Gazette recognition has put us in the top 5% of English language schools in the country, alongside some huge names such as Berlitz and International House.
“It’s all down to the quality of the teaching and learning, and we have had students coming to learn English with us from pretty much every country.
“Over the last 12 months our biggest single groups have been from China, but then overall we’ve got quite a few from the Middle Eastern countries such as Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot of Syrian students coming in because of their difficulties back home, and we’ve had quite a few from Spain, Portugal, France and Germany too.”
The English language courses run for two weeks for a short course, up to 11 months for a more advanced qualification. Former English teacher Matthew, who has been in his role for six months, is delighted with the results he has seen so far.
He said: “Looking at the stats, over 98% of international students that are coming to us are not only successful in completing their course, but they are moving up the levels in a short space of time.
“Our results have been brilliant for the intensive IELTS (International English Language Testing System) training programmes, which is one of only two recognised secure English language tests for those who want to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, or indeed for settlement purposes.
“We’ve got great teaching staff here and our principal Julie Mills is very much behind pushing out internationally and getting our name out there, because our results are exceptional.”
All of the international English language courses are taught at the college’s Silbury Campus in central Milton Keynes, which also provides bespoke training for local businesses.
“Silbury Campus is our least well known campus but there’s some great stuff going on here,” explained Matthew.
“Aside from the international courses, we offer bespoke courses for businesses such as university level qualifications in negotiation tactics, presentation skills, using English for law or accountancy, and much more.
“I think it’s high time that we were out there shouting from the rooftops about the quality we offer in terms of courses and corporate training, so here I am!
“We are looking forward to welcoming several new starters in early January, but there is always room for more. Watch this space too for some exciting new programmes for 2017.”
The college’s international team are now working on a range of new initiatives to further tighten their grip on the international market.
Matthew said: “We’re involved in lots of projects including an international football academy – we’re going to train groups of aspiring footballers from Nigeria and sub-Sahara Africa.
“We’re also looking at sending our teachers to other countries to help their teachers to develop their own English skills.”
For more information call the college’s international team on 01908 688227 or log on to mkcollege.ac.uk