On the move
Hannah Lindsay, daughter of Managing Director Mark Lindsay, has taken over as the new St Giles Group Sales Manager following the departure of Robin Garforth as Sales and Marketing Manager. Ms Lindsay has served formerly at St Giles London Central in their main reception as a Registrar and Accommodation Officer, and at St Giles Head Office in a support role in their Marketing Department. Rachel Bell takes over as Marketing Manager at St Giles. She has served for several years as Marketing Executive and as Assistant Marketing Manager at St Giles.
Elly Witcher joins The Royal High School, Bath as the Head of Marketing. From a corporate brand consultancy background, Ms Witcher will be working closely with Registrar, Lynda Bevan, and the overseas admissions team to build the profile of international boarding and promote the IB Diploma offered in the Sixth Form College. “We are the only independent girls’ school within The Girls Day School Trust (GDST) to offer boarding so it’s an exciting time for us as we develop our brand and appeal to more international students across broader geographies.”
Hollie Coffey has joined the Ialc team as Events Executive. Ms Coffey has a BA honours degree in Advertising from the University of Gloucestershire, UK, and over two and a half years’ experience working in events and hotel management. Ms Coffey is a welcome addition to the Canterbury-based Ialc secretariat and is already involved in the organisation of the 2012 Ialc workshop, which will take place from 19-22 April in Toronto, Canada.
In addition to her current role as South East Coast Coordinator for the Royal College of Surgeons, Jaci Joyce has returned to the international education industry by taking a position in international marketing at Sussex Coast College in Hastings (formerly Hastings College of Arts and Technology). Ms Joyce, who has previously worked as Manager of Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), noted that the institute’s impressive multi-million pound rebuild and enthusiastic staff almost certainly encouraged her return.
David Maguire has been appointed Director of International Marketing at Global Language Institute in the USA. Originally from Ireland, Mr Maguire has worked in the field for more than 20 years in Ireland, Germany, and the US in academic, administrative and marketing roles. “I am looking forward to developing successful working relationships with international partners so as to build on GLI’s long record of success.”
Q&A Educator association
This month, Jan Capper, Executive Director of Ialc, talks about recent developments within the organisation, including the revision of its membership policy.
Full name: International Association of Language Centres (Ialc)
Year established: 1983
Number of members: 104
Type of members: full and associate (branches)
Association’s main role: representation of leading independent language schools
Code of practice: code of ethics
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
12/17 Upper Bridge Street, Canterbury, CT1 2NF, UK,
Tel: +44 1227769007
F: +44 1227769014
What has your association been up to recently?
Ialc has gained members, notably ABCHumboldt and Giralda Center in Spain, CLLC in Canada, and associate schools Tamwood in Toronto and France Langue in Bordeaux. But we’ve said goodbye to some as well. Market conditions have been difficult for one or two and a longstanding member was bought out. The acquisition of good independent schools by the big groups is a fact of life and we had already established a working group to look at Ialc’s strategic direction in the light of this and other market trends. Our 2011 workshop in Shanghai went well and we’re now busy with our 2012 Workshop in Toronto in April, which will be hosted by Tamwood International College.
Have members schools reported any emergent student trends?
With members in 24 countries there are rarely general trends. For example, Spanish members are reporting more long-term bookings from new markets while the overall trend with English seems to be for slightly shorter stays. In Ialc, we see very clearly how fashions for different destinations, fluctuations in exchange rates and changes to government visa policies can result in a boom year for one group of members and a difficult one for another.
What factors are currently impacting on student numbers at your member schools?
The financial crisis is having an effect but it is not always bad. Extra European funding was recently announced for language training for some poorer regions and this has resulted in last-minute group bookings for some members. In many of the long-haul language and education markets, parents and grandparents spend even more money on educating the youngsters to give them a chance in difficult circumstances. But for markets and course types where language travel can be seen as a luxury holiday, bookings are bound to drop. The most important factor, as always, is visa policy; it is not worth promoting certain destinations as students won’t get visas. But many of these markets have a tremendous potential when the visa situation eases.
What are Ialc’s aims for the coming year?
To continue to review and revise our membership policy. It’s a slow process due to the thought and time involved and the need for all members to participate in and support any reform of our rules. Our aim is to simplify our ownership and territorial policy to allow us to recruit more top independent language schools, without sacrificing all territorial protection. And there is always more to do with our quality assurance scheme, which has to work for all members wherever they are in the world, i.e. allow for different laws and norms while demanding the same fundamental standards.
Q&A Advisor association
This month, Gokhan Islamoglu,
Coordinator of Turkish agent association, UED, talks about the organisation’s recent activities.
Full name: The UED - The Association of International Education Con. Turkey
Year established: 2001
Number of members: 40
What has been your main focus in the last 12 months?
During the last year we have been more focused on two main points; marketing and service quality of our members. We have started to publish our own magazine and distribute it to different cities in Turkey. In 2011 we also participated in several international education fairs and set up booths in colleges and universities to support our marketing efforts. To be able to ensure the quality level of our member agents remains constant, and we have strengthened the complaints procedure. We are still working on this and we have made important changes in our code of practice during a recent general assembly.
Where do you stand on accreditation?
UED believes that the accreditation of agents is of critical importance, especially for countries where there is no special regulation. Accrediting agents is necessary to protect international education providers from the possible damages of insufficient representation. We all should remember that agent associations are not established only to protect rights of their member agents but the rights of schools and students. As a member of Felca, we support the Felca Accreditation Code and show this support by translating the code into Turkish and adding it to our web pages. On the other hand, we believe that each country - and each national agent association - has its own special conditions. Therefore in some cases, it may be necessary for national agent associations to accept this code as a main regulation and to detail it according to specific needs.
What are your feelings concerning agent training schemes?
Training schemes are necessary, at least to facilitate the adaptation of agents to any changes in the sector. Unfortunately, there are many and usually they are not beneficial because they are not focused on agent needs. At UED, we prefer to organise our own. UED has provided training programmes for its members both within its own structure and/or together with some national institutions. And feedback from our member agents has been good.
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different language teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.
This month Giralda Center in Spain nominates The Thebing Travel Group in Germany. Eduardo Álvarez de Cienfuegos Benavides, Director at the school, explains this decision:
“The Thebing Travel Group is a travel agency that unites several successful and prestigious agencies, such as Kolumbus-Sprachreisen and Flamenco-Sprachreisen. We have been working with this renowned agency for several years now and can only say good things about them. The contact with them is more than amicable, very personal and always reliable. One can notice that the Thebing team really cares for their customers and makes sure they are well and content. Despite being a big enterprise, the staff make a point of looking after every single client and also after their partners. We are very happy to have found such a great partner to work with and we are looking forward to many more years of collaboration. We were very lucky to have been able to meet several staff members here in Seville at the Fedele annual meeting. Apart from strengthening the already existing bond, we were able to share many special moments and experiences.”
“We feel honoured to have been nominated by one of our long-standing and trusted partner schools. We work hard every day to provide the best service and we know that this would not be possible without you!”
Patrick Thebing, Director of Thebing Travel Group, Germany