International Professional Development Unit

Academic helping a student in a science labThe International Professional Development Unit (IPDU) is part of the Centre for International Training and Education, and specialises in the development and delivery of professional development (PD) courses and consultancy for international clients.

Recent projects have been completed for a range of clients in education (schools and universities), business, government departments, and other international funding bodies.

Staff in the IPDU are highly experienced in providing quality and innovative bespoke programmes, either in the UK or overseas, to meet the needs of clients across a range of specialisms including education, business, and healthcare.

Benefiting from close working relationships with academic departments across the University of Leicester, we have access to the latest cutting edge research and expertise.

In addition, we also seek input from a pool of highly respected external consultants located in relevant sectors, when a project would benefit from specific expertise to compliment that available within the university.

In addition to bespoke courses, the IPDU works with colleagues in the Centre for International Training and Education (CITE), which offers a comprehensive range of English language programmes, many of which are available throughout the year.

What can we offer?

The IPDU provides bespoke learning and training solutions; the key to our success is an ability to tailor a solution to meet a client's specific training needs. Examples of what we can offer include:

Professional development

Training is available for professionals across the disciplines of education, business, medical sciences, and computing. We are extremely flexible and able to tailor course content to a client's needs, whether in the UK or abroad, with varied course durations. Recent courses have been delivered in teaching, educational leadership, e-learning, communication skills, artificial intelligence, medical education, and business skills.

English language classes

As well as academic and general English, we can also offer English classes for specific purposes, such as airline, medical and public administration English - covering all levels from beginner to advanced.

English teacher training

We are accredited to offer professional qualifications such as CELTA, one of the most globally recognised English teacher qualifications available.


Specialist programmes can be developed for interns, which may include individual research projects; specialist lectures and training courses; classroom observations; English language preparation; shadowing of academic staff, and visits to external organisations.


IPDU can provide access to the huge range of expertise at the University of Leicester, covering a wide number of disciplines including: education; teaching; computing; engineering; business; science; educational quality assurance; English language teaching; medicine and allied sciences, etc.

Recent projects

Examples of recent projects include:

Saudi Arabia (Khebrat)

Khebrat is an international 12-month professional development programme for teachers from Saudi Arabia. The University of Leicester is one of three UK Universities selected to deliver the programme, which comprises three components: English language tuition, teacher training, and school experience.

This project is an example of how the IPDU can provide complex solutions for clients which, in this case, involves a collaboration between the university's English language Teaching Unit, its School of Education, and schools across Leicester.

China (Professional development)

Groups of clinical staff from Nantong University Hospital have been welcomed annually for a specially tailored English for Health Academics courses. Over 11 weeks the course focuses on general English communication, communication skills for professional academics, and teaching and learning in higher education.

We work closely with the University's Medical School to provide visits to local hospitals and our own state-of-the-art medical and research facilities. Participants, who come from a range of disciplines and specialisms, undertake individual research on a project of their choosing, making use of the university’s facilities and resources, and having access to academic departments across the institution.

Ecuador (Capacity building)

The IPDU has been working with the Universidad Católica de Cuenca (UCACUE) in Ecuador to deliver capacity building courses for all its academics during a three-year project. Focusing on the embedding of problem-based learning across all teaching, this has resulted in improved student performance in subsequent assessments, better class attendances, and a developing community of collaborative research between the University of Leicester and UCACUE.

Eurasia (Research/consultancy)

Working with the British Council, academics from the University of Leicester have been collaborating on a project to determine the various approaches to English teaching in schools across five countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan) and identify improvements that will lead to rapid increases in levels of English language skills among future school leavers.

This large scale project will result in a strategic plan for future development of English language education across all five countries, which will be presented to each country's ministry of education for future funding of targeted interventions (i.e. training and development programmes).

Additional information

All professional development courses delivered by the IPDU in the UK also include a range of optional components, in addition to all tuition and support, including:

  • A choice of accommodation options;
  • Excursions to cities such as London, Oxford and York;
  • Airport transfers;
  • Visits to local organisations of interest such as hospitals, companies, local authorities or schools;
  • Social events with local staff and students;
  • Graduation events, including presentation of a Certificate of Completion;
  • Access to the university library, gymnasium, wi-fi, etc.