Case Study

Published on Monday 2nd of October 2023

QA (QAHE) partners with the University of South Wales (USW) to deliver an international pathway college at the University’s Pontypridd campus.

The pathway college was introduced in Autumn 2021 to support the University’s diversity and student success objectives. Specifically:

  • expanding international reach
  • attracting a higher number of undergraduate students
  • increasing the range of access into the university for international students
  • diversifying enrolment across faculties

The International Foundation and International Year One Programmes support international students to develop their English language ability and academic study skills, preparing them for their undergraduate degree and immersing them in the USW community.


To enrich the student experience and support financial sustainability, USW sought to diversify its enrolments across nationalities and subjects.

In the early days of the partnership, USW’s pathway enrolment was predominantly driven from a handful of key markets. The university and QAHE looked to expand USW’s reach in the Middle East, India and broader African markets and focus on breaking into new markets that would generate high-quality applications to the University.

Working closely with stakeholders across the University’s Marketing, Recruitment, Admissions and leadership teams, QAHE developed a recruitment strategy aligned to growth and diversity targets and refined recruitment processes to attract higher quality applications from low-risk student markets.

Supporting students from more corners of the globe 

The pathway programmes QAHE introduced at USW allow students the opportunity to build subject knowledge, academic study skills and confidence to progress onto undergraduate degrees in Applied Science, Business, Computing, Engineering, Sports Science and Creative Industries at the University. These programmes are validated by the University of South Wales and taught by QA lecturers.

“I’m going to study computer animation next year. My pathway course provides me with all the different skills needed for my degree. I do practice these skills when I’m at home, so I’ll be better prepared for my degree. We practice essay writing a lot. I know I’ll have longer form assignments to write on my degree, so this helps me prepare. The intimate class size has helped me make good friends, since we have most of our classes together and spend a lot of time together. I’ve also had the opportunity of meeting people from different countries, I can learn a lot about different cultures from them.”

– Eesa Nauman, Pakistan, University of South Wales Pathway

QAHE has more than 130 recruitment, admissions and marketing staff covering seven world regions. Regional leads manage agent relationships and training, in-country fairs, and regional campaigns. QAHE’s extensive network of more than 700 actively contracted agents across the world are engaged in diversifying USW’s enrolment mix. To enable USW to increase its global network, QAHE focused on creating awareness and increasing on-ground engagement with existing and untapped markets. Efforts were scaled promptly with QAHE’s well-established network within North Africa, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and the MENA region. This was supported by investment in training to ensure internal and external agents were expert on USW and the pathway offerings — and that their approaches were aligned to targets. The recruitment strategy sought to activate interest in STEM and Computing subjects in particular, where the University has a strong portfolio. This targeted approach has resulted in dramatic increases in demand.

Leveraging insights from our agent network, QAHE identified the right markets for meeting USW’s diversity and quality objectives. These included Morocco, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka and others illustrated in the chart below.


University of South Wales Pathway College Mix

University of South Wales Pathway College Mix



“Enrolling at USW’s pathway course has been both enlightening and a challenging experience. As this is my first time living away from my home country Sri Lanka, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But now that I’m here, I’m pleasantly surprised at how nice and friendly everyone is. There are a few cultural differences which I am getting used and I’m glad I’ve enrolled to a pathway course before jumping in to my degree. The course is teaching me how to be more independent and manage my time alongside my workload. it’s also getting me accustomed to different teaching techniques followed in the UK. The people at the campus are very supportive and help you every step of the way. The lecturers too are very supportive and provide as much information as you require. We even had a Sri Lankan cultural night where we got the chance to meet other students from Sri Lanka and enjoy food from our country.”

-Marasinghe Arachchillage Tinithi Asini Dulakna Marasinghe, Sri Lanka, University of South Wales Pathway.

The results…

Within a year, the pathway student body became more diverse welcoming students from 12 new countries including Kenya, Iran, Iraq, Sri Lanka and China. QAHE also established a stronger presence within pre-existing markets which supported enrolment growth to the pathway college. Tighter recruitment checks and identification of right-fit markets for USW improved application quality alongside growth and diversity.

QAHE’s relationship building activities with agents delivered impact beyond the pathway college. Through QAHE’s agent conferences, USW had the opportunity to meet and speak with our agent network to forge their own relationships to support the University’s broader institutional strategies.

Donal O’Connor, Director of Future Students at USW said, “The partnership has quickly enabled the University to diversify its international student population. Through close collaboration and alignment across all departments, our colleagues in QA feel like one of the team and are able to respond rapidly to the needs of the University. We have been particularly impressed by their ability to pivot to new markets, and readily respond to our compliance concerns in markets where we were both active. Each intake we’re growing and increasingly adding new student markets to our pathway college through QA ’s global network of agents and staff.”

Supporting your strategic goals

Working in close partnership with universities, QA delivers a range of partnership models that increase and diversify enrolment across student demographics and university subjects. Learn more about our embedded pathway colleges and other partnership models to support your goals.

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Case Study

Case Study: Diversifying Enrolment at University of South Wales

Learn how University of South Wales and QA increased student diversity within their Pathway College.