Industry issues - advisors speak out
Q. What are your top business tips for attending an Advisor/educator workshop or conference?
Gérald Soubeyran, ASL - Aquitaine Service Linguistique, France
“I have been attending agents workshops for at least 10 years. We use the workshops to find new partners when needed, but also to keep up-to-date with our existing partners. It is also the best place to see what’s new, grab fresh ideas and consider new business directions. The most important thing is to get prepared long in advance. I always print a short introduction note on Effective and ASL, my two agencies, for the school’s attention: history, who we are and what markets we target, figures, and what we are looking for at the moment. Then at each single meeting I use an ‘interview fact sheet’ where all our questions to the school are listed, so that we can make comparisons based on the same criteria for each and every potential new partner. After the workshop, I think it is important to let the schools know whether you are interested in working with them, or not right now, and explain why. It is a matter of courtesy to potential future partners. The next step should be a familiarisation visit as nothing can replace an onsite visit and experience. To me the workshops are just the start of a working relationship with a school, and they are the most practical and convenient way to meet possible new business partners.”
Kamila Karwowska, AM Consulting & Education, Poland
“Our agency has attended three workshops so far: ICEF Berlin, Ialc Shanghai and Quality English Warsaw. It’s an extremely effective tool in terms of establishing many business contacts in a short period of time. If a school representative is open, communicative and receptive, interested in an agent‘s needs, this creates a positive climate, contributing to establishing a friendly and trustful business relationship. I do remember meetings that impressed me a lot and we now consider these to be our best and favourite partners, who have excellent customer care standards. I remember also three other meetings, which made a bad impression on me the representatives seemed to be perfectly organised and concentrated on a planned presentation, without, however, paying attention to the needs and interests of me, a potential partner. I find it useful to check first the websites of potential partners and bring to the meeting my list of questions and subjects to raise.”
Giuliana Bonvini, Atlante Intercâmbio, Brazil
“The most important detail in an agent workshop is when institutions offer different opportunities for agencies, like unusual destinations and innovative courses. I don’t like it when I see the same schools/universities at different workshops because my main goal is to look for something new and not known by the educational market in Brazil. I have been attending workshops since February 2010 and I liked all of them but I prefer smaller ones because there are fewer institutions. This way I can pay attention in every single meeting and review the proposals carefully when the workshop ends. When I go to bigger workshops it is good too but it’s easy to get lost and with so many schools it easy to mix up information. When I am in a meeting with an institution, I enjoy when they are interested about what they are talking about. I like when they use references to explain about the destination too. When they use references it is much better to assimilate and save it to mind. These workshops are so important to me because I can trust in all the institutions that I meet and I don’t need to look by myself on the Internet because we can’t confirm if we are dealing with reputable companies.”
Judit Povill Sans, Clic Idiomas, Spain
“I attend many different workshops: MEI, Alphe, ICEF, Feltom. I think these meeting points are a good chance to meet a lot of partners and schools you work with, get new ones, discuss different points and get a new and better vision of the country market. Apart from workshops, we used to visit a few schools in different countries during low season, this helps us to promote the schools, know the location and the most important thing for us, give the student the correct information. I will suggest to a new agent not to bring all the brochures during workshops and keep all the info on a USB stick, if not your luggage will be extremely heavy!”
On the move
Jacqueline Kassteen has been appointed Director, ICEF Monitor, and is responsible for developing a new online platform delivering timely market intelligence and commentary to aid international student recruitment. She is now based in St. Julian’s, Malta. Prior to this role, Ms Kassteen was a Senior Marketing Executive at Wyse Travel Confederation based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, managing marketing and communications for their annual event Wystc.
English UK is delighted to announce that its new Deputy Chief Executive for Professional Services is Huan Japes. MrJapes is well-known in the ELT sector, where he has worked at all levels, with his most recent role being as Chief Examiner in Tesol for Trinity College London. He is one of two deputy chief executives at English UK and will take over responsibility for professional services, leading the association’s work on quality assurance and professional development.
Academia Columbus has appointed Inge Groeneveld as their new Marketing Director for their schools in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico. Ms Groeneveld brings with her the experience she gained working for Malaca Instituto in Spain, where she was responsible for various markets in Europe, North and South America.
EAC has appointed three new members of staff in its business development team. Having spent several years in partnership management roles within the industry, most recently with St. Giles and Regent, Ben Delaney has joined EAC as Business Development Manager dealing predominantly with Italy, the Middle East and the Americas. Jennifer Mann, who has previously worked for The Scotsman newspaper in B2B sales management roles, joins as Business Development Manager dealing with Western Europe, Scandinavia, Japan and Korea. And Frederica Kennedy, who has worked for EAC for several years in a variety of roles including; Activity Leader, Teacher, Director of Studies and Recruitment Officer, has been appointed Business Development Manager dealing with Spain, Portugal, China, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Robert Ferguson is the new Content Manager for Twin Group in the UK. He previously held the post of Content Editor for market research company, Kantar, before taking responsibility for online content at Twin. He said, “I am very much looking forward to creating exciting content to present to users across the diverse portfolio of businesses at Twin Group.”
Q&A Advisor association
This month, Ryuki Hayashi, General Secretary of the Japan Association of Overseas Studies (Jaos), talks about recent activities, accreditation and agent training schemes.
Full name of association:
Japan Association of Overseas Studies (Jaos)
Year established: 1991
Number of members: 42
Agent members: 30
Associate members: 12
Association’s main role: To represent Japanese study abroad advisors
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Ryuki Hayashi, General Secretary
What has been the main focus of JAOS in the last 12 months?
Jaos hosted seminars jointly with the Japan Network for International Education (Jafsa) an association of the departments of international relations of Japanese universities and continues to work with them closely. Jaos attended various meetings and conferences organised by governmental bodies including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in 2011, to exchange information with each other. The association also visited the Japanese government’s cabinet office to let them recognise the importance of this industry. Jaos held a joint conference with FGER (Foreign Government Educational Representatives), which comprises educational representatives from embassies in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and France, and had a lively exchange of information. This event has been held continuously since 1998. Jaos held two AGM’s in 2011, one in June and one in December. It also took the initiative to establish the Japan Commission for the Regulation of Overseas Study Services (J-Cross). Since June 2010, Jaos has been working on the establishment of J-Cross in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, the Consumer Agency and the Tourism Agency. J-Cross started to accept applications for certification from agencies last November. The certification committee will mainly be responsible for checking the financial status of individual agencies.
Where does JAOS stand on accreditation policy and standards?
Jaos supports and follows Felca’s accreditation scheme together with the guidelines set out by the association itself in 2007. I feel that accrediting agents is a necessity. Since Jaos’s guidelines are more strictly regulated than the Felca Accreditation code of conduct (Jaos has its own code which was established in cooperation with the Consumer Agency and the Fair Trade Commission of the Japanese government and members of Jaos have been screened every year by the Inspection Committee), Felca’s code has been accepted by Jaos members smoothly without any major problems.
What are your feelings concerning agent training schemes?
Recently study abroad advisors have been requested to get some training upon the Australian government’s recommendation. Do we have to take training courses for each education providing organisation in every country? This training is not for promoting advisors skills but only for providing schools with information relevant to their own country. Jaos set up the certified training programme and test in 2007. It’s a 600-page textbook that covers information on all education systems in a variety of education providing countries. This could be the world standard under the prospective Felca training scheme.
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 inlingua School of Languages in Malta nominates StudyGlobal, Spain. Maryse Gatt, Director at the school, explains this decision:
“inlingua Malta has been a partner school with StudyGlobal a leading tour operator for language courses abroad since the initiation of their programme in Malta. StudyGlobal currently operates four offices in Spain, Germany, France and Switzerland. The importance of student welfare and total customer satisfaction together with the efficiency of the StudyGlobal team members has led to constant good business. The extensive portfolio of language courses being offered makes Study Global a popular choice with numerous students who choose Malta as their destination. The relationship we enjoy with Patrick Mueller and Osmira Amaiz has been based on open dialogue and loyalty together with our firm commitment to maintaining the high standards set and offered by StudyGlobal. The advantages of working with such a reputable agency are numerous and we look forward to maintaining and strengthening our working relationship with them for many more years to come.”
“We are very pleased and honored by this nomination. inlingua is in daily touch with our staff and offices and has many times gone out of their way to fulfill the particular needs and wishes of our clients. Our relationship has gone far beyond the business and we look forward to the future.” Patrick Mueller, StudyGlobal, Spain