Maria McKenna, NCUK’s global development director explained the benefits of the global university pathway during last week’s ceremony. (PHOTO: HLSCC)

In a partnership designed to help Virgin Islands students study abroad, the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College last week inked an agreement with the Northern Consortium of United Kingdom universities.

Under the arrangement, students who complete a “foundation year” of study at HLSCC will get the opportunity to attend one of NCUK’s partner universities overseas, according to the college.

During a brief launching ceremony on Feb. 8 at HLSCC, Education, Culture and Youth Affairs Minister Sharie De Castro said the pilot phase of the programme will focus on providing opportunities for HLSCC business majors.
HLSCC President Dr. Richard Georges noted that this focus is particularly well suited for the college.

“The majority of HLSCC students are what majors? Business majors,” he said. “The major industry of the BVI is financial services.” He added that the UK is the second most popular country for students transferring from HLSCC. “So all those factors have aligned,” he said. The college, he noted, is eager to start recruiting students who wish to take advantage of the partnership

First in region

Maria McKenna, NCUK’s global development director, said the VI is the first territory in the Caribbean to partner with the consortium. “We are very excited to be working with the college here, and we hope we can attract students from other islands as well,” she said.

She added that NCUK has launched partnerships in countries across the globe, and about 90 percent of the students who enlist have progressed to partner universities. Participating students in the VI typically will need to complete the foundation year of study at HLSCC, Ms. McKenna explained.

This foundation year is normally required for students who have completed high school outside the UK education system or who may have studied in a language other than English, she explained.


According to the NCUK, the foundation year ensures that students possess the requisite study skills, cultural knowledge and English language proficiency to succeed at the partner universities. After students complete the foundation year in their home country or territory, an NCUK team assists them with their university applications. The NCUK “guarantee” ensures that students who complete the foundation programme receive at least two conditional offers from partner universities, according to the consortium’s website.