Damian Hinds, the Secretary of State for Education, has made an official visit to English UK member Anglolang College in Scarborough.
Mr Hinds met staff and students to discuss how English Language programmes such as Erasmus plus are contributing to the success of the UK by bringing international students here, and about the how the Government's overall plans to leave the EU will ensure a "deep and long future relationship" with the bloc. The Government has recently confirmed that funding will continue to be made available to UK institutions for Erasmus plus projects agreed before 2020.
"We were delighted to hear that the Secretary of State for Education had visited one of our member centres. I spent time talking to him about our industry earlier in the year, and he was really interested, so this is an excellent development," said Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK.
She added: "The Erasmus plus programme is highly valued by English UK members who run extensive teacher training and development programmes, and it is therefore good to see the Government taking note of this. I believe this visit represents an increased interest in and understanding of our industry, and therefore recognition of its £1.4bn contribution to UK GDP, all of which is very welcome.
"We believe that our submission to the MAC inquiry into the economic and social impact of international students made a very clear case to the government of the broad value of the ELT sector, and the part it plays in the wider international education field, one of the UK's largest export industries, and hope that Mr Hinds' interest indicates a growing official interest in what our members do."
Mr Hinds said: "English is a global language and today it was a pleasure to meet international students who have a love of our language which they will share through teaching it across the world. It is the language of business, of trade, and of course that will continue when we leave the EU in March.
"We place enormous value on international exchange schemes and collaboration - like Erasmus plus - all of which is part of our vision for a global Britain. That's why we have guaranteed funding for students and organisations participating in this programme to continue to the end of 2020."
An Anglolang College spokesman commented: "We have been successfully running EU funded teacher training programmes for over 14 years, most recently the Erasmus Plus KA1 programme. This enables our school to operate year-round in a highly seasonal marketplace, thus providing employment and income to staff and accommodation providers in Scarborough, not to mention the extra spending in the local economy and leisure venues.
"The resulting intercultural awareness and understanding has benefitted local people and Europeans alike and enabled us to cooperate and network together for our mutual benefit.
"We sincerely hope that EU funded teacher training programmes will continue after Brexit."
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