April 2008 issue

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Sunshine in Australia

Only good news in Australia – 2007 was a great year all round, and student visa issuance was up by a third. Strong government support for easing immigration pathways is one reason for this, as Amy Baker finds out.

We’ve had a very solid 2007 with growth across all major markets,” says Ian Pratt at GV Noosa and GV Brisbane, summing up what has been a great year all round for Australian education providers. John Paxton at Perth International College of English also has very good news to relate: “Our high season saw record numbers of students filling the school to capacity,” he says. “Just as pleasing for us was the steady number of students during our low season in the middle of the year.”

The statistics say it all – Elicos (English language intensive courses for overseas students) visa issuance was up by a third in the year ending November 2007 compared with the same period in 2006. These statistics capture the market of longer-term students (over 13 weeks) for which a student visa is required. Sue Blundell of English Australia, explains, “We are yet to analyse the numbers of non-student visa holders [typically 50 per cent of the total numbers], however, indications are that growth is consistent across the different visa types, although perhaps not as high for the visitor visa market.”

While business has been booming around the country, there has been a fair amount of enterprise and investment going on at various education providers. “Our school moved to better premises during 2007,” relates Marion Bagot at the Tafe English Language Centre, Northern Sydney Institute in Sydney, NSW, who says that despite the move and a subsequent drop in enrolments at that time, 17 per cent growth was recorded overall.

At Carrick Institute of Education, which has sites in Melbourne and Sydney, Mary Kyriacou says they are opening a new campus in Adelaide this year. “Carrick’s first degree programme, the Bachelor of Business, commenced in February,” she adds. Carrick offers English language, vocational and higher education and reports steady growth across all sectors.

At GV, Pratt relates that they have a new Caloundra campus on the Sunshine Coast. “With the opening of our new campus, we have seen huge interest in working holiday programmes [in this tourism region], which all lead to guaranteed employment opportunities,” he says.

One negative factor that has been noted has been a decline in Japanese students (eight per cent down on 2006 student visa issuance). However, Pratt suggests Japanese students are just travelling differently – more interested in working holiday programmes, for example. “What there is most definitely is a drop in [Japanese] student visas, but this has been more than made up for, in our case, by good growth in the working holiday and tourist visa market,” he relates.

Asia remains the most important source of students for Australia, with Korea and Japan the top two providers in 2006. In 2007, China and India showed strong growth in the student visa sector. Blundell comments, “It is not surprising that strong growth was experienced from countries with many students going through to further study and also those wishing to use their Australian qualifications for skilled migration.” India recorded an astonishing 215 per cent rise in Elicos visa issuance, while there was a 51 per cent hike in visas issued to Chinese students.

Outside of Asia, education providers also point to the Swiss market as being important, as well as Germany, Colombia, Brazil and France. A number of providers signal Latin America as a growing market. At Embassy CES, which has five centres in Australia, Mark Bailey says that growth coming out of Latin America, China and India is making up for a static market in Japan and Taiwan.

The agents’ role in building business

Australia has a high rate of agency recruitment in its marketing mix. According to the latest global comparison of Status survey figures (compiled using data supplied by language schools) Australian educators relied on agencies for 61 per cent of clients overall (see LTM, March 2008, page 57).

Having had their biggest year yet, many schools attest to the important role played by agencies in contributing to their success. Mark Bailey at Embassy CES, says competition has been high and as a result, schools have needed to work more closely with agents in order to maintain their support. “Without a comprehensive agent network, schools would not survive,” he says.

Acknowledging that the Internet is also being more widely used, “and we’re tapping into this”, Bailey notes that agents still seem to be involved in the booking process, for assisting with visas and other travel matters if not dealing with school applications.

Laurence Stallman at Language Studies International in Brisbane, QLD, agrees that “agents provide a vital bridge between school and students”. Meanwhile, Ian Pratt at GV Noosa suggests that agents are effectively promoting study opportunities in Australia now more than ever. “Three or four years ago it was very difficult to find an agent to promote Noosa,” he relates. “Now, with the widespread use of the Internet, students can access information and bypass traditional agent information chains and agents have responded to this.” 

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The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Britannia Student

Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Quality English  

Alphe Conferences  
LTM Star Awards  


Bright World

InterGlobal Ltd.  
Student Guard

Your World On


Malta Tourism

CERAN Lingua
      (Belgium, France,
      Spain, UK)

Bodwell College  
Centre Linguista
College Platon  
English Bay
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
National School of
Quest Language
Richmond School
      District #38  
Stewart College
      of Languages  
University of
Vancouver English
YMCA Greater
      Lang School  

iMandarin Chinese
      Training School  
Mandarin House  

Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
International House
      World Organisation  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Malvern House  
Princes College
      School of English  
Queen Ethelburga's
South Thames
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,

Home Language
      (France, Ireland,
Langues Sans
Silc - Séjours
      (France, Spain, UK)
Université de Paris

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

ISI - International
      Study Institute

Swan Training
University College

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

      Language School  
EC - English
      Language Centres  
      (China, England,
      Malta, South Africa,
LAL Malta  
Malta Tourism

Wellington High

EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps  
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
Edinburgh Academy

Cape Studies  

ESADE- Executive
      Language Centre  
Idiomas ˇSí!  
      Internacional de
      Idiomas Ibiza  
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,

ALCC - American
      Language &
Brown University  
ELS Educational
Global Immersions
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,   
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
Monterey Institute
      of International
Zoni Language


Bright World
Twin Group  
      (Ireland, UK)