Spring workshop season upbeat
A wide number of networking and promotional events were organised in April and May this year by language school associations as well as professional event organiser, Icef, which hosted its second-ever Australia New Zealand Agent (ANZA) Workshop in April in Auckland.
The workshop was attended by 192 education providers who met with 202 agents from 48 countries, reported ICEF, and participated in the company’s “most comprehensive market intelligence seminar programme” to date. The range of topics covered included practical information on the New Zealand and Australian student visa process, online marketing, commission free vs agent generated enrolments, and impacts of the world financial crisis.
"I found the workshop invaluable," commented attendee Trevor Masters, Regional Director of PFL Australasia Limited. "This event is very well organised and it's an ideal opportunity to meet educators from all over Australia and New Zealand." Aysel Serdar from International Education Agency Australia (IEA-A) in Turkey added that for her, the event had been an eye opener. "We normally send students to Australia and have not really explored the possibilities [in New Zealand]," she said. "But we will definitely think again."
Back in Europe, MEI was hosting its annual fam trip and workshop for agents in Ireland, while Ialc invited its members and agent partners to convene in Milan, Italy, this year. In Ireland, school delegates seemed satisfied with the event, despite acknowledging that fewer agents had attended this year. Danielle Wall at Edgewater College in Drogheda said, “I found the quality of agents very good. The venue was ideal and very comfortable.”
Ialc welcomed 127 agencies (143 participants) to Milan in Italy to meet its membership, which has recently swollen to 103 language schools. New members are Alpha College, Dublin in Ireland; Glasgow School of English in the UK; Accademia Italiana in Salerno, Italy; Academia Columbus in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico; and BridgeLinguatec in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Denver, USA. New member Jean Marc Alberola from Bridge Linguatec in the USA said, “As a new member it was good to see at first-hand the loyalty of some agents towards Ialc members.”
In Vancouver, the International House World Organisation (IHWO) organised a workshop to promote its network of IH schools to agents. Tiziana Di Dedda, from IH Rome, said it was the workshop that she waited for every year. “With a reasonable number of agencies, everyone has time to talk to everyone, share ideas and do business in a friendly and relaxing atmosphere,” she said. “The location this year has been excellent Vancouver and Whistler are charming cities with a lot to offer.” IHWO reported that 48 agencies met with 31 schools.
And in Al Ain in the UAE, the English Language Promotions Group, which comprises the British Council, English UK, UKTI and VisitBritain, hosted its own agent event designed to attract participants from the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia to focus on UK study opportunities. English UK reported that delegates commended the boutique fair. “It’s the best fair I’ve ever been to... a great opportunity to cooperate with UK organisations,” said Mohammed Al Jindan from Knowledge Village Institute in Saudi Arabia.
IH World welcomes NYC
The International House World Organisation (IHWO) has welcomed a new school into the fold. Rebranded as IH New York, Teaching House, as it was formally known, becomes the 141st school to join the growing network.
IH New York ran its very first Celta course in June 2007 and since then has expanded significantly, tripling the number of students. The school is now the largest Celta provider in the USA, enrolling more trainees than the combined total from all other centres.
Tasha Hacker, one of the founders, said, “Affiliation to the IH network was a natural step forward for the school in order to expand. We decided to join IHWO because we believe in the quality standards that IH upholds and we want to be part of a community that shares our high standards and educational values.”
STS celebrates one million customers
Louise Carlstedt, 16, is the lucky student to have become STS’s millionth customer. The Sweden-based company organised its first language tour over 50 years ago, since then it has expanded to offering study abroad experiences in 20 countries. Ms Carlstedt received a scholarship and laptop, which she will use to post a blog on STS’s website about her experience in Torquay, UK.
New six-month work/study clause in NZ
There has been good news for the English language teaching industry in New Zealand, with the announcement that from July, students on a Working Holiday visa scheme can study for up to six months, as opposed to three months as was the rule previously. Rob McKay, Chairperson of English New Zealand, said that the government has listened to English New Zealand’s submissions and extended the length of study permissible under the Working Holiday visa scheme. “This is excellent news and a very positive recognition of the English language sector’s importance as the front-end of export education,” said McKay.
Students from 30 countries can take part in the working holiday scheme, which is the visa route used by many English language students. Countries that participate in the scheme include Argentina, Brazil, Korea, Malaysia, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Taiwan. Working holiday visa holders are aged between 18 and 30.
“Working holiday makers contribute well over NZ$100 million (US$60 million) to our economy and this improvement will see further gains in student numbers and employment within and downstream of our industry,” said McKay. New Zealand’s Immigration Minister, Jonathan Coleman, added, “Working holiday schemes are a great way of encouraging young people to visit New Zealand. They raise New Zealand’s profile and, in foreign policy terms, signify a strong bilateral relationship.”
English New Zealand is also advocating a restriction to the work rights so that all students, not just those with a designated English language level, can work part-time in the country. McKay is hopeful, commending Coleman for “signing off on a regulatory change which sees us able to compete internationally”. He added, “It’s a great start to the series of policy changes needed for our export [education] sector.”
Australia increases English requirement for catering trade jobs
Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has decreed that the Ielts language level required for employer-sponsored workers entering the country under subclass 457 (required typically for chefs) has been raised from 4.5 to 5.0. This is in response to concerns about the exploitation of workers from non-English speaking countries, according to DIAC.
“The requirement to ensure at least a modest level of English, as defined under Ielts standards, is the first to be implemented after the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship announced a number of changes to the programme,” said a spokesperson.
Twin Group in the UK expands to USA
Twin Group in the UK has expanded into the USA with its co-promotion of an ESL transition programme at Florida Southern College (FSC). The Centre for English Proficiency and Academic Success (Cepas) is being operated in partnership with World Education Group, also based in the USA.
Caroline Fox at Twin Group told LTM, “These are exciting times for Twin. [Cepas] will provide international students with the opportunity to join an ESL transition programme, earn credits and gain direct entry to the FSC undergraduate programme in the year following their admission. Students will be regarded as full-time students of FSC from day one.”
Twin Group has also launched an international study centre (ISC) in London, UK, which will provide nine-month study programmes designed to enable students to progress seamlessly on to any UK degree programme that represents the best academic fit. Fox said, “Uniquely, all students will be encouraged and helped to complete a UCAS form rather than being ‘steered’ to a set of university partners. This is more appropriate to students’ genuine ambitions,” she added.
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