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November 2009 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction 1
Direction 2
Direction 3
Special Report
Course Guide 1
Course Guide 2
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Status

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Paid work placements

Work placements help students fund future studies while providing some valuable first-hand experience. They are also proving a great way to ride the recession. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

With the global economic crisis taking its toll on full-time employment prospects, the market for paid work programmes has inevitably experienced a contraction in some areas of availability. Despite this, however, demand from candidates remains high and providers are continuing to find attractive placements.

In Canada, both InterneX International Exchange and Tamwood International report a downturn in placement availability this year. Tamsin Plaxton at Tamwood, has found that, on top of the effects of recession, the staging of the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia appears to be having a negative effect on tourism in the Whistler area. Visitors are staying away, she says, thinking that the resort will be too expensive to visit this winter, leading to fewer jobs and local employers being more selective. Meanwhile, according to Timothy Wells of InterneX, at the start of 2009, “double the effort” was required in to find the places to satisfy demand. However, things are now looking up, and “due to our extensive efforts during the slowdown quarter, we now have a very substantial number of open, quality positions, which we will need to forward-market extensively, or run the risk of not satisfying our employers,” he reports.

In the USA, the Columbia-based Association for International Practical Training (AIPT) has observed “a significant decrease in the number of programmes being sponsored over the past year,” according to Amy Schultz. Meanwhile, providers in the UK paint a mixed picture. At Intern-UK, which focuses on placing graduates into business areas such as marketing, accounting and administration, Stuart Blake highlights “availability problems” in many companies, both large and small. By contrast, “There is a very healthy demand for employees in hotels in the UK – especially seasonal – despite the recession,” says LAF’s Duncan Cameron. Jayne Stroud of fellow UK provider, The Training Partnerships (TTP), concurs. “I think we all thought that the downturn in the economy would affect the number of placements available, and this has not been the case,” she affirms.

While availability appears, overall, to be harder to find, demand for placements remains generally high, with most providers reporting either stable or increased interest. Kristina Stehmeier of Oneco, which offers work experience in hotels and country houses in Spain, is one who has seen an upturn in demand, both from students and from those already working in the hospitality sector.

German provider, PractiGo, which offers hotel, catering and retail placements in the UK, as well as hotel placements in Spain, meanwhile, has recently increased its focus on work & travel programmes, and is now beginning to see an increase in this type of business says spokesman, Eric Horster.

Plaxton, noting that, “high employment in other countries is causing young people to look at ways to work overseas,” is also seeing a rise in the number of requests for Tamwood’s programmes in Canada – which mainly take the form of seasonal work in the service industry, especially ski and summer resorts. However, at the Center for Cultural Interchange (CCI) in the US, there has been some decrease in the amount of participation, according to Melissa Ozkurt, although she stresses that the overall level of interest in their placements (in the tourism and hospitality sectors) remains strong.

In the UK, “EU client placements are doing fine – as many as before,” says Cameron. These tend to be mainly for stand-alone work options. However, under the new visa regulations, non-EU candidates (with some exceptions) are restricted to applying for sandwich programmes (work & study). At Twin UK, Cherabelle Nganga reports that demand is still high – with a significant increase in the number of EU citizens, especially from France, Italy and Spain – but the new immigration rules have meant that there are now fewer non-EU nationals. To attract these in greater numbers, Twin has recently introduced a new sandwich option, the Career Development Programme. This offers students the chance to acquire the skills needed for successful completion of work experience in the UK, and concentrates on areas such as preparing for a work placement and interview skills.

Meanwhile, Cameron at LAF comments that, “There seems to be a demand [from non-EU students], but applications are only now coming through,” and he believes that the new system is unnecessarily restricting the market. With demand for placements remaining high, Cameron would like to see a more liberal environment, such as that which currently applies to applicants from Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand (with which the UK has reciprocal arrangements).

So, who, typically is a candidate for paid work experience? At TTP, applicants tend to be primarily students attending university or college, who are seeking the opportunity to spend their summer vacation improving their English and learning about UK culture, while earning a wage to cover their expenses in doing so. This motivation appears to be typical. “No one expects to take part in a work & travel programme and get rich,” comments Horster. “What matters,” he says, “is that the stay can be financed with the money being earned. The pay is almost always minimum wage,” he adds, “but some placements receive better wages [than others].” While Horster states that pay levels are not dependent on the area of work, this is perhaps unusual. Most providers report that minimum pay levels are in place, and the rate is normally dependent upon the type of work being undertaken.

In the USA, Ozkurt reports that international trainees and interns must be paid the equivalent to what an American employee with the same credentials and experience would be paid. She adds that many positions offer well above the minimum rate, and varies according to the type of programme and level of experience. Wells, too, reports varying hourly rates, although he points out that most participants are on the lower end of the scale, due to the short duration of their placement as well as their lack of prior experience.

Given that most work & travel candidates will be looking for their pay at least to cover expenses, it is important for them to take into account that the cost of living can vary considerably in different locations. “For those in cities, the cost of living is significantly higher,” highlights Wells, “so, though the salary may be the same as for someone in a resort destination, their pocket is 50 per cent lighter at the end of the month.”

While a degree of flexibility on location can help the figures add up better financially, a similar flexibility with regard to timing can also be helpful to candidates when trying to secure a particular type of placement, as Frederick Young, Director at UK-based Global Education Management (GEM) Placement Services, explains. “I think the type of work has dried up in some parts of the hospitality industry, but, in other ways, we don’t have many problems placing people if they are prepared to wait a little longer and [be] flexible on location,” he says.

Candidates should also be realistic regarding the type of placement they will obtain. “All types of employment opportunities are in demand,” comments Stroud, “but, unfortunately, it’s difficult to find paid placements or work in any sector other than hospitality and leisure.” This, she believes, is because of the lack of opportunity for the employer to interview the applicant face-to-face. For Plaxton, it is also a question of skill levels: “The work is usually seasonal work in the service industry, mostly in ski resorts or summer resorts. Otherwise, it is jobs in restaurants, cafés and retail, where the skill level required is not high, turnover of staff is high and jobs are always opening up.”

Indeed, demand in other sectors is, as noted, generally harder to fulfil. Regarding professional areas, Wells highlights barriers in the form of restrictions of the market and visa requirements, as well as local practices and labour laws. However, professional placements can still be found for suitable candidates. Blake, who has noted a rise in interest in medical and dental internships this year, comments that there will always be a requirement for well qualified and motivated interns.



“We have several excellent placements, but one that springs to mind is [one that] pays above the minimum wage, and with whom we have worked for five or six years. The work includes waiting on tables, serving behind a news counter, clearing tables, filling shelves and cashiering. Our students are always well looked after, have a full induction programme, are provided with uniforms and receive a daily food allowance of £9.70 daily!”
Jayne Stroud, The Training Partnerships, UK

“We found a work placement doing window and door framing for a carpenter from Denmark. He told us afterwards that his six months in a strange country, far from everything he knew, changed his life and taught him to see things from a different perspective.”
Timothy Wells, InterneX International Exchange, Canada

“Many of our work programme participants are placed into jobs at Canadian ski resorts. One student I remember well was from the UK and her trip to Canada to do our working holiday programme was her first experience abroad. The student worked the full winter season in a high-end ski-clothing shop. She had the chance to meet lots of people from around the world, both on the job and socialising in Whistler. As she told me, the best part of the experience was the people she met. She also loved the snowboarding.”
Tamsin Plaxton, Tamwood International, Canada

“We placed a Romanian man in a hotel in Scotland more than a year ago. He is now resident in the UK and has been given a management job by the same hotel.”
Duncan Cameron, LAF, UK

“We had a client with very limited funds, who enrolled with us at the beginning of April. She was studying tourism and thought that she would have to do an internship for her studies for next year. With the help of our partner company, we were able to organise a placement in Lanzarote, Spain, where the client had not only free accommodation and meals, but also around E150 pocket money a month.”
Eric Horster, PractiGo, Germany

“We obtained an internship at a hotel in Bolton for a student from Singapore. Our client reported that the hotel was beautiful and the staff very helpful and welcoming. Not only was everyone willing to teach them the various tasks required, but they were also treated like a normal member of staff.”
Frederick Young, GEM Placements, UK
Contact any advertiser in this issue now

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

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Global Immersions
      Inc  
NYC Language
      Vacations 

AGENTS/CONSULTANTS
Boa Lingua  
Students
      International

ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
British Council  
English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
MEI Ireland  
Perth Education City
Quality English  

EVENTS
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of
      Turkey  
International House
      World Organisation  

EXAM BOARDS
Pearson Education  

INSURANCE
Student Guard
      Insurance  

SERVICES
InTouch  
StudentMarketing  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  
Perth Education City

WORK EXPERIENCE
Twin Group
      (Ireland, England,
      USA)
Training Partnership
      Ltd. (The)  
English Bay College
Australian Internships
Professionals UK  
PractiGo GmbH  
GEM Placements  

ARGENTINA
Ecela - Latin
      Immersion 
      (Argentina, Chile,
      Peru) 

AUSTRALIA
Ability Education
Australian Internships
Language Studies
      International  
Pacific Gateway
      International College
Perth Education
      City  
Shafston
      International
      College University
University of
      Tasmania  
University of
      Western Sydney
      College  

BELGIUM
CERAN Lingua
      International 
      (Belgium, England,
      France) 

BRAZIL
Bics
      (Business & Intl
      Communication
      School)
Bridge Linguatec  
      (Argentina, Brazil)
Fast Forward  
      (Brazil, Portugal)
The Language Club
      (TLC)  

CANADA
Access International
      English Language
      Centre  
Berlitz Canada  
Camosun College  
College Platon  
East Coast School
      of Languages
      (ECSL)  
ELS Language
      Centres  
English Bay College
English Language
      Training College
      ELTC
English School of
      Canada  
Eurocentres,
       Vancouver  
Geos Language
      Academy  
Global Village  
      (Australia, Canada,
      USA)
Public Schools of
       the Canadian
      Rockies
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
Herzing College  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
       of Canada  
ITTTI Vancouver  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Language Studies
      Canada  
National School of
       Languages  
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
       (OISP)  
Public Schools of
       the Canadian
      Rockies  
Richmond School
      District #38  
Rocky Mountain
      School District  
Saint Mary's
      University  
Southeast Kootenay
      School District No. 5  
Stewart College
      of Languages  
Student Guard
      Insurance  
University of Toronto
University of Victoria
VanWest College  

CHINA
Mandarin House  

EGYPT
IH Cairo  

ENGLAND
Anglophiles
      Academic 
      (England, Ireland,
      USA, Cyprus,
      Canada)  
Ardmore Language
      Schools  
Bell International  
      (Malta, UK)
British Council  
Bury Language
      School  
Camp Beaumont  
English Language
      Centre Brighton &
      Hove  
English Studio  
GEM Placements  
Harrow House
      International
      College  
IALC International  
International House
      World Organisation  
Isis Group/
      StudyCentres  
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland,Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language and
      Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
LITE - London
      Institute Of
      Technology And
      English  
Malvern House
      College London  
Plus 
      (Canada, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, UK,
      USA)
Professionals UK
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
      College  
Spinnaker College
St Giles Colleges 
      (Canada, UK, USA) 
Study Group 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Training Partnership
      Ltd. (The)  
Twin Group 
      (Ireland, England,
      USA) 
University of Essex -
      International
      Academy  

GERMANY
BWS Germanlingua 
Carl Duisberg
      Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
inlingua Berlin  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

IRELAND
Atlantic Language
      Galway  
Galway Cultural
      Institute  
MEI Ireland  

ITALY
DILIT -
      International House  

JAPAN
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Tamagawa
      International
      Language School  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
Easy School of
      Languages  
EC English
      Language Centre 
       (England, Malta,
      South Africa, USA)
Feltom Malta  
Linguatime  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  
NSTS  

PORTUGAL
CIAL - Centro de
      Linguas  

SCOTLAND
EAC Language
      Centres and Activity  
      Camps.  
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)

SOUTH AFRICA
Language Teaching
      Centre  

SPAIN
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute  
Malaga Si  
International House -
      Riviera Maya
      (Spain, Mexico)  

SWITZERLAND
Boa Lingua  
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, England,
      France, Germany,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Singapore,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Eurocentres
      International 
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA) 

USA
Access to
      Language Studies  
California State
      University San
      Marcos  
Geos North America
Global Immersions
      Inc
IH New York  
Inlingua Language
      Centers  
NYC Language
      Vacations  
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California San Diego
Zoni Language
      Centers  



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