The language travel industry may be going through a difficult time of late, with economic difficulties and visa changes creating challenging working conditions, but for some in the sector, it is also a time for great opportunity. In the news pages of this issue we hear of two new schools starting up in Cape Town South Africa one out of the ashes of Shane Global Cape Town, which closed its doors in March this year (page 6). Both schools are the product of the business ambition of employees within the industry as past employees become owners and managers of their own schools.
The five language schools that make up Geos Europe have also broken away as a group from the international Geos chain to trade under the new name Language Teaching Centres UK (see page 7). In all of these cases, individuals working within the industry have seen opportunities in potential failures and the current climate within the industry is ripe for these kinds of ventures. The owner of one of the new schools in Cape Town stresses that large chains may be too interested in opening new branches around the world so that the personal attention that every student looks for may be lost. This may be a new trend in the language travel sector a return to small school values and attention to detail as competition for students hots up.
As one destination or school faces difficulties, opportunities arise for others and schools in this issue give many examples of scope for new business as external factors like visa changes take affect. One community college in Canada that took part in our mini guide this month (page 20) has told me that international enrolments at his college are up by over 100 per cent this year as immigration changes and bad press worldwide regarding school closures have affected the international vocational sector in Australia. The recent changes to the UK’s immigration laws are also likely to cause ripples of change in traditional student source countries for the UK and other destinations are sure to gain as a result.
While this may come as little comfort to those currently dogged by external barriers to their business in the last few months, it is a reminder that the international education sector as a whole will reinvent itself and continue to thrive in the future. Like nature, the ebb and flow of the industry creates healthy opportunity in times of hardship and this means it is likely to flourish as a result.