A BASINGSTOKE college is strengthening its links with China after three students from the country arrived to study here.

Kevin Luu, 20, Lap Pong, 18, and Chun Wai Wg, 17, were greeted at the airport by Basingstoke College of Technology principal Anthony Bravo.

The three students are the first to take up a course at BCoT, after the college formed links with China.

Chun Wai, who is staying with a host family while he studies mechanical engineering, said: “It’s a great chance to come to BCoT because I have never been to England before. It’s a great chance for me to learn more about England and about Basingstoke.”

Mr Bravo said: “This link-up makes the college more diverse and it’s giving some interesting role models to our students. And for the students from China, they get a British education which is really highly regarded in China, and they are travelling abroad which broadens their minds.”

Mr Bravo said he is excited about BCoT’s increased links with China, after winning a bid to deliver courses in the country on behalf of the British Council.

Last month, he headed off to China with two members of staff who will deliver workshops and presentations on how to teach vocational courses.

The Chinese Government realises that vocational education is an area that they need to grow so approached the British Council for support, recognising that the UK is leading the way in vocational education.

Colleges in the UK submitted training ideas and BCoT won the contract.

Mr Bravo said: “The Chinese Government have recognised the need for a cultural shift in education where they are putting a focus on vocational qualifications. They don’t have students who can fulfil the enterprise needs.”

He added: “It’s really exciting that Basingstoke is getting on the map for being world class for its vocational education.”

BCoT will also welcome a top chef from China this month, who will visit for two weeks to teach Chinese cooking.

Shenglai Zhang, from Jiangsu Catering College, will teach students Chinese cooking, and will also run classes for the public at the college, in Worting Road.

Mr Bravo said: “He’s going to share his experience with our head chef, Ian Pitt, and we hope to have some themed evenings celebrating Chinese culture.”

As part of the link-up, Mr Pitt will then visit China where he will share his expertise.