MELBOURNE, Australia, March 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- IDP Education, the world's leading provider of student placement services, today announced it had secured agreements with two well respected institutions - the University of Essex and the University of Kent - representing its first client universities in the United Kingdom (UK).

The agreements mark a significant milestone in the company's plan to enter the UK market by placing international students into UK universities from the beginning of the 2012 academic year.

IDP Education Chief Executive, Anthony Pollock, said: "We are pleased to welcome these two institutions as new clients of IDP and look forward to working together to develop their profile across our global network with students and counsellors alike."

The University of Essex is ranked eighth in the UK for teaching quality and was ranked ninth out of all UK universities in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Many subjects have been rated as 'outstanding' by international standards.

The University of Kent, the UK's European University, was ranked fifteenth in the Times Higher Education's Student Experience Survey 2010. The university has a strong international impact, with long-standing partnerships with over 100 universities in mainland Europe and external networks with leading institutions around the world. It is the only UK university with specialist postgraduate centres in Brussels and Paris.

The entry of IDP into the UK is an extension of the company's multi-destination marketing strategy that sees it already offer placement into institutions in Australia and the United States.

"We have had strong interest from UK institutions since we first announced our plans," Mr Pollock said. "It is clear from our discussions across the UK that the experience and track record of IDP - gained over more than forty years - is instrumental in their consideration to work with us. In particular, two benefits that IDP offers clients are highly regarded: firstly, access to market intelligence to inform their strategic plans, and secondly, our student placement process that delivers quality students who are well suited to the course they have chosen."

"Having IDP bring its experience to the UK market and to the University of Essex is timely given our desire to have stronger and deeper relationships with a more focussed group of highly professional and service-oriented agents," said Tim Gutsell, Director of the International Office. "With so many agents around the world vying for our attention and trying to secure a share of this highly competitive business, we want to work with agents that we can know and trust and that meet universities' and students' needs. We think IDP will fit that bill."

Joanne Ganderton-Smith at the University of Kent said, "Kent is very excited by the opportunities that our agreement with IDP presents. The key attraction of working with IDP is the ability to extend our reach in key markets as well as having the opportunity to raise our profile in emerging and developing markets."

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IDP Education, the world's largest international student placement service, was established in 1969. It is jointly-owned by 38 Australian universities and SEEK Limited, the leading online employment and training company. In addition to the student placement division, IDP is a major sponsor of research into international education and pioneered forecasting of international student trends and growth.

IDP has developed a strong reputation across South East Asia, The Middle East, North Asia and South Asia. Working from 80 offices in more than 25 countries, IDP assists students navigate the entire process of application to placement.

IDP also is part-owner of IELTS - the world's leading English language proficiency test - with the British Council and University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. IELTS is recognised by more than 6,000 institutions around the world and more than 1.5 million tests are sat each year. IDP conducts IELTS tests at 100 test centres in 35 countries.

For further media enquiries, contact Porter Novelli Melbourne: Nicole Hamilton +61-3-9289-9555 +61-419-316-621 Michael Clark +61-3-9289-9555 +61-434-317-021 Tim Dodd IDP Education +61-407-440-160