On the 04th July 2016 Midcounties hosted a visit by 12 delegates from South Korea – this visit was requested following a similar visit that took place in 2012.
The Ministry of Strategy and Finance(MOSF) in Korea, which led the main role to legislate the Cooperative Framework Law 2012 and the Korea Social Enterprise Promotion Agency (KOSEA) are organised the research visit to UK to learn about cooperative supporting policies and training programmes. KOSEA is the government funded organization, which promotes social enterprises and co-operatives in Korea. As a consequence of the new legislation of the Cooperative Framework Law 2012, the number of cooperatives in Korea has increased rapidly and it has reached more than 9,400 co-operatives. Since this legislation, MOSF drew the 3-year founding plan for promoting co-operatives in 2014 and currently they are preparing on drawing the next 3-year plan (2017-2019) for strengthening co-operatives in South Korea.
From their visit to Europe (UK. Belgium, and Switzland) they hoped to learn various co-op supporting policies, models and programmes with the main focus of their next 3 year-plan would be how to support existing coops to be stronger and sustainable, and how these coops to become important and healthy players in Korean Economy. The policy officers at KOSEA and the researchers at Korean Development Institute (KDI), which is currently conducting their research work for the MOSF wanted to get some advice on their work and learn the best practices of the UK coop supporting models. Even though the coop policy context in UK and Korea are quite different,it was felt that there was a great deal to learn from the Midcounties’. The visit specifically focused on the childcare business sector.
As part of the visit the delegates spent time with the Group General Manager for Childcare Mr Mike Abbott and a visit was also arranged to one of the Childcare nursery sites.