BURNLEY fashion students are set to jet off to Thailand for part of their studies as plans for a new international university campus were revealed.

The University of Central Lancashire announced today that it is to create the country’s first private university campus in Bangkok after agreeing a £7.5million deal.

Under the scheme students on the university’s BA(Hons) Eastern Fashion Design degree, which is exclusively taught at the Burnley Campus, will be given the chance to visit and study at the Thai site and vice versa from 2014.

Earlier this week University of Central Lancashire bosses and Thai-based entrepreneur Mr Sitichai Charoenkajonkul signed an official agreement.

They have pledged to work closely together to create a full-scale university campus.

The university, which already has offices in China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria and India, will invest £7.5 million in the venture.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “It is fantastic.

“It will be a boost for the young people on the far eastern fashion design course who can carry out their studies in Thailand and for students in Thailand to get to know Burnley.

“It is good news, Burnley will be recognised all over the world.”

The campus in Bangkok, which will be built to a University of Central Lancashire specification in Bangkok metropolitan area and within reach of the city centre, will open in June 2014 for 800 students rising to 5,000 in 10 years.

Leader of Burnley Council Charlie Briggs said: “This is putting Burnley on the map. We have the campus in Burnley, the new technology college and Burnley FC higher education centre.

“Burnley is on the up and I hope everyone takes the chance to go to Thailand and Thai students take the chance to come to Burnley.”

The Thai campus will offer full-time and part-time undergraduate, postgraduate and foundation degree courses in subject areas that include business, built and natural environment, engineering, creative and performing arts and languages.

A university spokeswoman added: “Having our own campus in Thailand gives us a great deal of flexibility.

"We do not need to enter into exchange programmes per se, as both the Burnley and Thailand campuses are University of Central Lancashire campuses – giving us the ability to give students opportunities for varying periods, and without being beholden to an exchange partner.

“All students on the Eastern Fashion Design course, which is run exclusively at the Burnley campus, are able to go on an international trip – the campus in Bangkok will be the ideal location for future visits.

“We anticipate students based at the Thailand campus will have similar opportunities to spend a proportion of their studies at University of Central Lancashire campuses in the UK, and this of course includes Burnley.

“We are committed to the principle that exposure to international environments and different cultures broadens the experience and the horizons of students and, as our research suggests, significantly increases their appeal to employers.”

University of Central Lancashire Vice-Chancellor Malcolm McVicar said: “University of Central Lancashire has made huge strides in the last ten years and the qualities of innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise remain at the heart of everything we do.

“Our Thailand project is an ideal fit and will enable us to become the first UK university to build a campus in Thailand; thereby extending our international links and bringing world-class higher education and our view of a superlative student experience to South East Asia.

“Drawing on the strength of some of our partnerships with global brands, we will deliver courses which are bespoke for the Asian market while providing the gold standard of a UK university experience.”