May 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
City Focus
Market Analysis

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Australia’s battle

Those operating within Australia’s English language teaching sector wrestled with a super strong dollar and faced changes to their legislative environment last year. We analyse the impact these factors may have had on enrolment in the 2011 operating year.

UK’s marketing budget by region (overall %) Student feedback respondents by world region of origin
Asia 44% W Europe 23.5%
Latin America 20%
C&E Europe 5.5% Australasia 4%
Middle East 3%
Latin America 27%
Asia 53%
Latin America 27%
C&E Europe 8%
W Europe 8%
Middle East 1%
No reply 3%

Top nationalites in Australia by student weeks – according to schools, 2011 How will you use your English in the future?
Korean 20%
Japanese 15.5% Brazilian 15%

Taiwanese 7% Colombian 6%
Swiss 5% Thai 4% Italian 3.5% Spanish 3%
French 2%
For my current or future work 47%
For further studies in the Australia 36%
For further studies in another English speaking country 10%
For pleasure only 5% For my university/college studies at home 2%

Commission Student numbers by age range
25% is the average commission paid on a language course

None of the institutions profiled paid commission on accommodation

8-11: 0%
12-15: 1%
16-18: 3%
19-24: 54.5%
25-30: 30.5%
30-50: 10%
50+: 1%

Means of recruiting students in UK, 2011 (schools) How did you find your programme? (students)
Advisors 84%
Internet 7%
Local bookings 6%
Other means 3%
It was recommended by an advisor 68%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 17% I found it on the internet 11%
I saw it advertised 2%
No reply 2%

In my class there are... To practise English with native speakers is ...
...just the right amount of students and mix of nationalities 36% . ..too many students who speak my language 33%
...too many students from one other country 15%
...too many students 14% (No reply 2%)
Quite hard 52% Quite easy 29%
Very hard 9%
Very easy 8%
No reply 2%

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Advisory costs 53%
Commission 39%
Incentives 10%
Agency brochures 4%

Travel costs 31%
Agent workshops 6% Student exhibitions 4%
Advisor visits to school 2%
Entertainment 2% Trips to agencies 17%
Publicity costs 16%
Agent mags etc. 1%
Brochure, video etc 9%
Internet 6%
11.4 weeks Overall average length of stay

22 hours Average language tuition per week

69% of students booked through an agent or advisor

Key points in STM school survey Australia
Number of participating organisations: 8
Total number of students at the organisations in 2011: 11,329
Total number of student weeks in 2011, estimated: 129,151
Participating schools: English Language Company, Sydney, NSW; Langports, Gold Coast & Brisbane, QLD; Think: Class, Sydney, NSW; ILSC, Sydney, NSW; ILSC, Brisbane, QLD; Ability English, Sydney, NSW; Ability English, Melbourne, VIC; Impact English College, Sydney, NSW; Byron Bay English Language School, Byron Bay, NSW; IH Sydney, Sydney, NSW.

Australia student feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 263 (female 160, male 102, unknown 1)
Average age in years: 25.5
Average number of students in class: 13
Participating schools: Bond University English Language Institute, Gold Coast, QLD; International House Sydney, Sydney, NSW; Carrick Institute of Education, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney, Docklands; ILSC, Brisbane and Sydney; Langports, Brisbane & Gold Coast; Access Macquarie, Sydney, NSW; Navitas, Brisbane, QLD; Navitas, Sydney, NSW; Performance English (Eurocentres), Melbourne, VIC.

Much has transpired since we last reviewed Australia’s ELT sector (see STM, April 2011, page 43), with the Australian government, in marked contrast to the UK, throwing its weight behind – albeit belatedly – its international education industry, the country’s third largest export sector. The government accepted all 41 recommendations put forward during the much publicised Knight Review, including the announcement that international students coming to Australia for the purposes of an English language course would no longer need to prove their language proficiency prior to visa application; welcome news indeed for the English Language and Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (Elicos) sector (see STM, November 2011, page 7).

The review and the subsequent implementation came too late for some, however, with several Elicos providers forced to close their doors at the end of 2011, among them Nudgee International College in Virginia, QLD – an organisation specialising in English language courses and school placement – and West Coast International College of English in Bunbury, WA. Jim King at Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA), the operating body behind Nudgee International College, cited “current conditions within the international education market”, adding in a statement, “While this has not been an easy decision to make, it has resulted from the growing decline in recent years of international secondary student enrolment numbers, due to external factors out of the college’s control.”

Acknowledging that enrolment numbers slowed somewhat in 2011, Anna France at Langports in Brisbane and the Gold Coast notes that the bigger picture is more positive for them. “There was a decrease in 2011 [business]. However, compared to the official statistics, our numbers have been better than expected.” A strong domestic currency did not help matters, adds France – a theme picked up on by most contributors to this year’s survey.

France alludes to the end of year summary of international student enrolment data released by AEI, which ranked the Elicos sector third by volume of enrolments and commencements in 2011, behind the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and Higher Education. Elicos enrolments declined by 16.3 per cent, while commencements dropped by 13.5 per cent compared with 2010.

In an attempt to ride out the storm, those active within the sector got strategic with their product range in 2011. For example, in Sydney, Think: Class Director, Denver Craig, attests, “Business decreased slightly, but as we only deliver English for specific purposes (rather than general English) we were not affected greatly by the major industry downturn.” Think’s Health and Wellness English programme – the only type-specific course to be certified by Neas –helped capture Japanese interest last year.

At Ability English, course development resulted in an increase in 2011 enrolments. Fiona Davidson notes that the school was even recognised for its efforts by peak body, English Australia, at its annual awards. “We launched three new courses in 2011, one of which [general English plus] won an English Australia award for innovation.” General English plus was essentially a product of student demand, notes Davidson, and provides students with a “stepping stone” from general English curriculum to courses with a more academic leaning. “The advantage of this course is our academically driven students of a lower English level can really push themselves in this class and study with like minded students.”

Other additions included an International Business programme, and a Pronunciation and Fluency course, which, says Davidson, has produced excellent candidate results and has been well received already. “Over three years of research went into developing this extremely intensive course and it develops language pronunciation from a very forensic approach.”

Langports opted to target improving student competency in a business context in 2011 by launching a new five-week Toeic plus course at its Gold Coast campus. “This has been a successful course and since we introduced our Toeic plus programmes (five and 10 week courses) the results of our students have improved greatly,” notes France. The school has used the same model at its Brisbane campus this year.

At the beginning of 2011, ILSC Education Group purchased the Sydney and Brisbane branches of Pacific Gateway International College, and Maho Okada observes that despite a decrease in Elicos bookings, the Australian schools’ vocational education and training programmes helped keep numbers buoyant. “ILSC launched the Night Time Double Diploma in International Business and Marketing which responded really well to the market,” she affirms. ILSC Australia’s aim for 2011 was to focus on aligning their academic provision with that of their other locations, adds Okada. This included full time Cambridge exam prep courses, an internship programme and unique offerings such as English for jobs and English plus yoga.

It is worth pointing out the average length of stay across participating schools dipped again last year, down from 14 weeks in 2010 to 11.4 weeks in 2011. Looking at individual results, average length of stay for students studying at an Elicos provider ranged from eight-to-16 weeks.

Future prospects

Looking to the future, many, such as Fiona Davidson at Ability English in Melbourne and Sydney, are cautiously optimistic. “Plan for the worst, hope for the best,” she observes. “We are predicting numbers will keep steadily growing at a sustainable rate. There are still some more government policies coming through – the good, the bad and the ugly, so we will see how it all pans out.”

Indeed, the future is difficult to predict, but Anna France at Langports in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, QLD, relates they remain positive. However, they are aware of the challenge the English language teaching sector faces, “[We] know there is a lot of hard work ahead for Australia,” she asserts.

Denver Craig at Think: Class in Sydney, NSW, meanwhile, observes government changes have already helped in some areas and that the school expects a similar business year to last with an expected rise towards the latter half of 2012. Maho Okado at ILSC in Sydney, NSW, predicts an increase in both their Elicos and VET sector provision, while Tim Eckenfels at IH Sydney in Sydney, NSW, is confident they will continue to buck the downward trend and forecasts business growth of between 10 and 20 per cent in 2012.

In a year thwart with challenges, such positivity is encouraging. Providers recognise the government has taken preliminary steps to restore sector confidence but, as observed by English Australia’s Sue Blundell, these changes will not be immediate. “As with all reviews, recommendations take time to roll-out. Some have already been introduced...and English Australia is playing an active role on various committees to ensure that other recommendations are implemented in an effective way.”

Keen to promote Austalia’s quality, Davidson concludes, “There are some great programmes and opportunities available in Australia so the keen students will always come.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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  
Fedele Spain  
Feltom Malta  
MEI Ireland  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
The English Network  

Generation Estates  
Sara's New York Homestay LLC  

Access Macquarie Limited  
Bond University  
English Australia  
ILSC Australia  
Impact English College  
International House Sydney
Language Studies International  
NEAS Australia  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
University of Newcastle Language Centre  
University of New South Wales  

CERAN Lingua International  

Eastern Townships School Board  
Greater Victoria School District  
Halton Catholic District School Board  
International House Toronto  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Peace River School District  
Powell River School District  
Qualicum School District  
Red Deer Public School District  
St James Assiniboia  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Bright World Guardianships  
Camp Beaumont  
CES - Centre of English Studies  
International House London  
Kaplan International Colleges  
King's Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
London School of English  
Malvern House London  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
Study Group  
University of East Anglia  
University of Essex - International Academy  

Quality English  

Cambridge Esol  
City and Guilds branch Office in Europe  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  

Alliance Française Lyon  

Dr Walter GmbH  

Active Language Learning  
Clare Language Centre  
Cork English College /Language & Activity Holidays  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
International House Dublin  
International School of English  
Language College Ireland  
MEI Ireland  
MLI International Schools  

A Door to Italy  

Clubclass Residential Language School  
EC English Language Centre  

Fedele Spain  
Inturjoven Spanish Courses  

EF Language Colleges Ltd.  
Eurocentres International  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

California State University Chico  
California State University San Marcos  
FLS International  
Forest Ridge  
Global Language Institute  
Army and Navy Academy  
Saint John's University  
University of Arizona  
University of California Berkeley  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

Gower College Swansea  

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