Drive for study links between Wales and Asia.
A NORTH Wales man living in Hong Kong is spearheading a drive to get more Asian students to study at universities and institutes of higher education back home.
Glyn Alban Roberts has been working on Asian/Welsh education development for the past four years.
He was initially commissioned by the Welsh Development Agency in 2000 to do a research study on higher education liaison between Wales and Japan and its potential growth.
Now he has set up a company called Asian Study Links which will source and form suitable academic partnerships between Asian universities and institutes of higher learning and their Welsh, English and Irish counterparts.
'There exists a huge demand for higher education placements in the UK from Asia, particularly China, and so far it is relatively untapped,' he said.
'Many influential institutions in China and the Asian region want to send students for overseas degree and diploma courses and specialist overseas education, but lack the knowledge as to which institutions are available.
'Likewise, academic institutions in the UK and Ireland are well aware of the potential for recruiting overseas students, yet all but a few lack the marketing skills and resources to tap into these important markets - and this is where we come in.'
Mr Roberts, 55, who has more than 35years of international marketing experience and who is originally from Nantlle Valley, near Caernarfon, added: 'There is a huge opportunity for a marketing resource such as Asia Study Links to bridge the gap between the two, and link suitable academic partners.
'Research over the past three years has lead me not only to develop new programmes and academic links in established and popular areas, such as business and management studies but also to look at other niche study areas, such as art, graphic and fashion design, nursing, media studies and other fields that I feel will become more in demand over the coming decade.'
His company has already negotiated and signed contracts with three Welsh universities - the University of Wales Aberystwyth, University of Wales Bangor and Swansea Institute of Higher Education - and is expecting to clinch another deal soon with Leeds Met University.
Mr Roberts said British universities were particularly appealing to both EU and other international students: 'The UK has a first class international reputation for the excellence of its higher education and having visited around 80 colleges in China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and Singapore, there are clear patterns of demand emerging.'
He has been helped by Prime Cymru, the Wales-based organisation that assists people over the age of 50 to go into business or become self employed.
Advisor Gwilym Roberts said: 'We have helped him to bring ideas to fruition and we are confident the venture will be successful
In places like Singapore, there are clear patterns of demand emerging for overseas degree and diploma courses and specialist overseas education