Our history

CIDT History


The genesis of the present day CIDT goes back two decades before the University of Wolverhampton itself. From teacher training in Agricultural colleges in the 1960s and vocational training of overseas agricultural teachers in the 1970s, an overseas unit of the Wolverhampton Technical Teacher’s College emerged. The commission of in-depth study programmes in the UK, by the Overseas Development UNIT of the UK (ODA) marked the start of today’s CIDT. The Unit trained over 700 overseas agricultural teachers and, during these early years, carried out its first overseas assignments providing technical assistance. By the end of the 1970s, it was a small but effective team with a growing track record and reputation for excellence in technical training in agriculture.


Our 40th anniversary booklet goes into detail about our history. (PDF, 9.5Mb)


The Overseas Unit grew in strength and scope of its activities and by the mid-80s had become a semi-autonomous and self-financing unit within Wolverhampton Polytechnic. In 1984 the Overseas Unit was renamed the Agricultural Education and Training Unit (AETU) to clearly reflect the core work of the growing team. The AETU enjoyed partnerships in Fiji, Sudan, Nepal, Tanzania and Bangladesh to support capacity development of agricultural institutions.

The 1990’s

Reflecting the paradigm shift in international development towards people-centred development, in the 1990s CIDT moved strongly into the environment sector, into social development and gender, and into formal school-based education, to complement its on-going adult education services. In 1993, a postgraduate PhD and Masters programme in Development Education was initiated and ran for 14 years. Competitive bidding for development work was becoming the norm, and CIDT won its first contract to manage a four year institutional strengthening project of the Solomon Islands College of Higher Education. In 1995, the AETU was renamed as the Centre for Rural Training and Development (CRDT).

Our work since the millennium

In the fast-changing global landscape, the Centre’s scope widened beyond rural development, as it responded to a broader set of needs and requests. Accordingly, in 2001, its name was changed to the one we use today: Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT). It became quite unique in the UK academic sector, as a university department of international development that is based not on teaching, rather that is a self-funded centre involved in a blend of consultancy and project/programme management services.

CIDT today

Reaching 40 years old is quite a milestone!  Many factors have enabled CIDT to flourish over the years: we have stuck to our core values and offered grounded, practical experience in the field; our team has been flexible, able to respond to changing policy and practice environments; and we have the strong backing and structure of the University of Wolverhampton.

Over four decades of capacity strengthening in a wide range of settings has enabled us to feed lessons learnt and best practice from across the globe into ongoing projects. We have also built a reputation for excellence on the quality of our deliverables and a proven ability to deliver time-bound assignments to a very high standard.

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