July 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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Ireland firm

The government and Ireland’s ELT sector are making efforts to work in tandem with one another to improve Ireland’s positioning on the global stage. However, there are still some hurdles operators are keen to overcome.

Ireland’s marketing budget by region (overall %) Student feedback respondents by world region of origin
W Europe 37%
Latin America 25%
Middle East 12.5%
Asia 12%
C&E Europe 11%
Africa 2.5%
W Europe 50%
Latin America 26%
Asia 10%
Middle East 7%
CE Europe 5%
N America 1%
(No reply 1%)

Top nationalites in USA by student weeks – according to schools, 2011 To practise English with native speakers is ...
Italian 19%
Brazilian 15%

Spanish 13%
Mexican 6%

French 5%
German 3%

Swiss 3%
Korean 2.5%

Saudi 2%
Austrian 2%
Quite hard 39%
Quite easy 34%
Very hard 16%
Very easy 10%
(No reply 1%)

Commission Student numbers by age range
24% is the average commission paid on a language course

Two of the institutions profiled paid commission on accommodation

8-11: 3%
12-15: 20%
16-18: 28%
19-24: 23%
25-30: 17%
30-50: 7%
50+: 2%

Means of recruiting students in Ireland, 2011 (schools) How did you find your programme? (students)
Advisors 76%
Internet 13%
Local bookings 8%
Other means 3%
It was recommended by an advisor 46%
I found it on the internet 28%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 18%

I saw it advertised 5%
(No reply 3%)

In my class there are...
...just the right amount of students and mix of nationalities 57%
...too many students who speak my language 19%
...too many students 11%
...too many students from one other country 9%
(No reply 4%)

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Advisory costs 35%
Commission 28%
Incentives 4%
Agency brochures 3%

Travel costs 37%
Agent workshops 16%
Student exhibitions 5%
Advisor visits to school 4%
Entertainment 4%

Trips to agencies 8%
Publicity costs 28%
Agent mags etc. 4%
Student mags etc. 2%
Brochure, video etc 11%
Internet 11%

4.8 weeks Overall average length of stay

20 hours Average language tuition per week

Key points in STM school survey Ireland
Number of participating organisations: 8
Total number of students at the organisations in 2011: 23,206
Total number of student weeks in 2011, estimated: 111,389
Participating schools: Active Language Learning, Dublin; Atlantic Language Galway, Galway; English Language Academy (ELA), Dublin; ATC Language & Travel, Bray; iStudy International (ISI), Dublin; Galway Cultural Institute, Galway; The Slaney Language Centre, Wexford; Centre of English Studies, Dublin.

Ireland student feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 100 (female 57, male 43)
Average age in years: 25
Average number of students in class: 10
Participating schools: Atlantic Language Galway, Galway; Centre of English Studies, Dublin; Galway Cultural Institute, Galway; Dorset College, Dublin; Delfin English School, Dublin; iStudy International (ISI), Dublin; ATC Language & Travel, Bray; Slaney Language Centre, Wexford; Cork English College, Cork.

In June 2010, Irish language school association, MEI, alongside the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and Failte Ireland rolled out a pilot scheme that aimed to raise awareness of Ireland as a prime ELT destination in Turkey. The scheme saw Turkish university students granted 90-day visas to enable them to travel within the Irish republic and study at any MEI member school. However, if we analyse the results of this month’s school survey, which looks at 2011 enrolments, Turkish students accounted for just 0.07 per cent of enrolments at participating schools. Indeed, while an added incentive, it may take time for the sector to realise its full effects, as Jonathan Quinn at Centre of English Studies (CES) in Dublin, comments, “It is true that the [Irish] embassy’s change in stance opened the doors but I think it will take a few more years to see the full fruits of our labour. As with any country whose students require a visa, and whose agents have gone through the slowness of the Irish bureaucratic system in the past, it takes time to fully trust the new promises.” But early indications for 2012 bookings look promising, he adds. “Our agents in Turkey are making all the right noises so that has to be good!” Colm O’Byrne at ATC Language & Travel in Bray, concurs, adding the growth in Turkish students has been more gradual than dramatic. “But at least now the door is open,” he asserts. “The incentive to study is there and in time the message will filter through to the students of tomorrow that Ireland has so much to offer.”

Keen to apply the same template to other sizeable markets, MEI recently announced a similar initiative to tap into the lucrative Chinese student market (see STM, May 2012, page 9). “We are very happy to see that through MEI and the Irish government a structure has been put in place to promote Ireland as a quality destination in which to study English,” comments O’Byrne. And the school hopes to travel to China more frequently to further cement new found collaborations and meet new partners.

Looking at previous trends, ATC experienced improved bookings from Korea, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Russia in 2011, as a result, says O’Byrne, of specific recruitment drives. Meanwhile, encouraging economic climates in Brazil and Korea helped drive enrolments at Atlantic Language Galway notes the school’s Masa Kitaya. Overall, business increased in 2011 due to the expansion of connections in Asia, the Middle East and America, he adds.

It is clear the aforementioned pilot programmes are helping schools think differently about recruitment efforts. “This year we will be working hard on China,” asserts Brian Burns at iStudy International (ISI) in Dublin. INIS will give “priority consideration” to 400 additional Chinese student visas, helping to ease processes.

Latin America is an area of focus for recruitment efforts at Galway Cultural Institute, documents the school’s Jason Foody. Brazilian student enrolments shot up the nationality chart in 2011, polling second with 15 per cent. However, closer analysis reveals this quota is skewed by one result and if excluded the Brazilian contingent drops to fifth place with a five per cent share. Elsewhere, Kitaya asserts that they are expanding agency partnerships in China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and India this year.

By concentrating on newer markets, operators in Ireland could well counteract the potential for slowed growth in other more traditional markets. O’Byrne relates that austerity measures implemented by the Spanish and Italian governments this year could well affect future bookings.

With a high concentration of language schools based there, Dublin could provide those looking to avoid London during the Olympic Games with a study alternative. Quinn adds that their Dublin centre will be closely monitoring the market trends at its UK branches to help consolidate efforts.

In 2011 Irish operators were actively developing their academic programming to help appeal to new student/agent markets. “Agents were looking for something different for teenagers,” begins Burns. “In 2011, we started our English in Action Summer Camp. This new programme incorporates theatre, singing, dancing, video production and news reporting into a general English plus activity package,” he explains. Therese Fagan at English Language Academy in Dublin notes they launched a Fetac Business course and an Ielts exam preparation programme in 2011. The school also intends to introduce three new one-year vocational/professional courses in tourism, hospitality and nursing.

As well as announcing a new Dublin city centre school targeting adult learners, ATC added several new English plus programmes (rugby, football, adventure and drama) to the provision at its junior centres throughout Ireland, while CES further strengthened its Ielts profile by becoming a test centre. It also expanded its young learner provision by launching a new junior summer programme.

Meeting challenges

Aside from the high costs associated with travel to Ireland, language school providers also flagged irksome visa restrictions in 2011. “Visa issues for certain geographical areas are still a big headache,” laments Jonathan Quinn, Marketing Director at Centre of English Studies in Dublin. Indeed, despite the inception of two new pilot schemes aimed to raise Ireland’s ELT profile abroad and streamline visa processing times for target markets China and Turkey, the government announcement regarding a new student immigration regime at the end of 2010 is still being acutely felt notes Therese Fagan, Managing Director at English Language Academy in Dublin. “The rules were announced in September 2010 and rolled out in January 2011 – a mere three months’ notice – which left no room for forward planning in our sector,” she explains. Rule changes included curbing the length of time a student could remain to study in the country, particularly those on non-degree programmes.

Fagan adds that the government rescinded on its promise to target those who had flouted visa rulings. “This problem was never addressed by the relevant ministers. If the government had stamped out these cowboys and left a level playing field for the rest of us, then we would not have such problems. However, because of their failure to address such an important matter, this has left the accredited private school/college sector system in an unfair position.”

“We hope to see improvements in this area over the coming year,” relates Colm O’Byrne, Marketing and Operations Manager at ATC Language & Travel in Bray. However, these changes, he adds, may take some time to filter through to agents and student clients.

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






English Australia  
MEI - Marketing English in Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  

English Australia  

Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  

Bow Valley College  
Braemar College  
Centennial College  
College of New Caledonia  
Connect School of Languages  
Georgian College  
Hansa Language Centre of Toronto  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology  
St James Assiniboia   
York University English Language Institute  
iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Camp Beaumont  

English in Chester  
Embassy CES   
International House London  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
Stafford House   
St Giles International  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  
Alphe Conferences  

Cambridge Esol  

Trinity College London  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Active Language Learning  

Centre of English Studies  
Clare Language Centre  
English Language Academy ELA  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
Language College Ireland  
University College Cork Language Centre  
Clubclass Residential Language School  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Maltalingua Ltd.  
CNN International Language School  

EIEN Power  
Global Standard  
MDL Cebu Language School  
Paradise English  
International House - Sevilla CLIC  

Xul Comunicación Social  
EF International Language Centers  

Eurocentres International  
Malta Tourism Authority  

California State University San Marcos  

ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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