On the move
Instituto de Idiomas Ibiza in Spain is pleased to announce the appointment of Christina Fischer as Marketing and Sales Manager. Ms Fischer will be responsible for strengthening agent relationships and increasing the client base, thus contributing to the school’s exciting growth. “What I appreciate especially, is Christina’s strong international marketing background, her vast experience in different industries and her interpersonal skills she proves every day,” said Daniel Bertole, School Director.
Danielle Flanagan has recently been appointed as International Marketing Manager at Swan Training Institute in Dublin, Ireland. Swan Training Institute is one of the most established language schools in Ireland with over 25 years’ experience and a prime location on Grafton Street, in the heart of Dublin City. Danielle joins the team with six years’ experience as Marketing Manager within the industry, and plans to develop new markets and grow current business relationships.
Richard Brande is Educatius’ newly appointed Director of Boarding School Program in the USA. Mr Brande brings over two decades of boarding school experience to Educatius, having most recently served as Director of Admission, Enrolment and External Affairs at South Kent School (CT) for the past nine years. His vast experience and understanding of the industry will provide Educatius and partner schools with strong leadership and strategic oversight of this rapidly evolving sector of the business.
MLI International Schools in the UK are delighted to announce the appointment of Rebecca Stead as the MLI UK Sales Manager. Rebecca comes with over 10 years’ experience within the ELT industry and is now responsible for selling all the MLI-branded summer centres in the UK: Edinburgh, Lancaster, Chelmsford, Wembley and Portsmouth. The MLI Directors, Brendan Kelly and Therese Dillon, are very pleased to welcome Rebecca on board.
Alex Wolfson has joined Into University Partnerships in the UK as Student Placements Manager. He’ll be leading the development of processes and customer service in the central student placements team. The team will offer additional support to students from Into’s joint ventures where they do not meet the progression requirements, and to students from the company’s new choice proposition Into London: World Education Centre. Mr Wolfson joins from ESL Language Travel where, as UK Regional Sales Manager, he was responsible for setting up their London office, and implementing sales and marketing strategies.
Q&A Educator association
This month, David O'Grady, CEO of MEI, discusses changes in accrediting bodies and ongoing plans for a quality mark for international education in Ireland.
Full name: Marketing English in Ireland
Year established: 1993
Number of members: 56
Type of members: Full membership and honorary membership
Association’s main role: To market Ireland as a quality ELT destination
Government recognition: All MEI schools are accredited by the Department of Education & Skills
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
E: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
What has MEI been up to in the last 12 months?
The last 12 months have been busy. We welcomed two new members and are now at 56 members. We had the 2012 MEI Workshop in Galway in October and that went very well. Also, in October 2012 there was an MEI Workshop in Moscow. It was hugely successful and attended by 17 MEI schools and 44 Russian agents. In April 2013 there was an MEI Roadshow to Turkey with workshops in Izmir and Istanbul. It was our first time to Izmir and it was excellent. In November 2012 we twinned with IATEFL for a weekend conference on Technology in the Classroom. It was held in The Digital Hub in Dublin and attended by 83 participants. Because of the (still ongoing) merging of the different accrediting bodies under the aegis of the Department of Education & Skills, MEI has been very active in assuring that the ELT sector is well represented in the new body, QQI, and we’ve been vigilant that our concerns are not marginalised. In the last 12 months, our Turkey pilot scheme with the Department of Justice has been broadened to include all categories of students and extended to a maximum period of 24 weeks. After initial teething issues, the China pilot scheme with the Department of Justice has been re-launched and is now on a sounder footing. We are currently working on a marketing initiative for Libya.
What market challenges are member schools currently facing when it comes to student recruitment?
The main challenges are that our staple markets of Spain and Italy continue in precarious economic situations; the ongoing market challenge in China is to gain profile; Colombia remains very weak because of a lack of official Irish representation on the ground there; and the perennial problem of lack of direct access from new and emerging markets to Ireland.
You have two workshops scheduled this year: your annual member workshop in Dublin and a workshop in Russia. What do you hope to achieve with these events?
With the 2013 MEI Workshop in Dublin we want to maintain and increase profile for Ireland as a destination for quality ELT programmes. We want to welcome back agents already working with MEI schools but who now want to expand and buy new products, and then of course welcome first-time visitors to Ireland, who, in their turn, will help MEI schools increase their market share.
How does the association ensure members abide by its code of practice?
Members are/have been very proactive in drawing up the code of practice. In that sense it is theirs. Therefore, they are ever mindful that it is the most effective tool to ensure that the student’s experience in an MEI school is infused throughout by quality.
How do you see the association developing in the future?
With a new IEM (International Education Mark) to be launched in the coming months, MEI would like to be at the forefront of this process and, eventually, be synonymous with the whole accredited sector.
Q&A Agent association
This month we interview pan-European agency association, EAQA, about recent activities.
Full name of association: European Association of Quality Agencies
Year established: 2011
Number of members: 15
Association’s main role: To assure a quality brand, guarantee high standards and to promote trustworthiness and quality.
Contact details: Matej Benus, EAQA Secretariat.
What has been the main focus of the last year?
We are only two years old and our goals are to maintain what we have achieved up to now and to grow organically. However, we have already succeeded in a number of things our membership benefit programme is now reasonably extensive, with a quality stamp, webinars, seminars, meetings, access to discounts and market intelligence packages. Our membership has grown organically from five to 15 members with new agencies in the pipeline. We attended the two main workshops last year: Alphe and ICEF. We are also becoming more active internally, with quarterly board meetings and monthly meetings with members. We assigned a dedicated association manager to be more available for growth and members.
EAQA has started to welcome agencies from outside of Central & Eastern Europe.
Actually, EAQA has always acted as a multinational European association, with special focus on countries and agencies without a representation, or with desire to be part of an international association. EAQA is becoming quite well represented across Europe, having 15 members from 11 countries.
What challenges do members face?
Based on our recent survey, most notice growth and their challenges are related to matters that come with growth: keeping costs, standards and prices reasonable while having more volume; increased competition especially coming from new and often non-standard performing new agencies; and more attention of media and regulation from governments.
How do you ensure quality standards?
During the application process and annually, we check whether they comply with Code of Practice, using industry, corporate and customer references, checking their business licences, marketing materials including website and brochures and mystery shopping.
Industry issues - agents speak out
Q. Do you, or have you ever, catered for students /
clients with a disability ?
María Carbonell, Viajar y Estudiar, Spain
“Viajar y Estudiar started to work with students with disabilities in 2008. That year a group composed of clients with physical disabilities was created to travel with the support of several volunteers. They studied for three weeks in Dublin in a school with wheelchair access available and facilities designed for visually-impaired, blind or hearing-impaired students. This first contact with adapted schools was a real success for both the students and us. Since 2008 we have worked with schools that cater for students with any physical disability in the cities of Dublin and London. The application process is very similar to the process of every regular client. The only difference is to ask them about their disability and if they need a companion for getting dressed, having a shower, etc. We try to find out as much information as possible about the student and his/her disability and then pass it to the school to ensure needs [are met]. Study abroad is a difficult decision for students with a disability, but it is a great experience for them. We recommend them to tell us everything they could need and just enjoy the travel!”
Sheridan Steen, Dyslexia School Search, UK (incoming)
“Dyslexia School Search was founded to help families place young people into both specialist and mainstream boarding schools within the UK. This specialist service aims to understand each student’s specific interests: design, art, music, mathematics, and match them to a school that will unlock their abilities and allow them to move on to higher education. In many parts of the globe, dyslexia and its associated specific learning difficulties, such as dyspraxia and dyscalculia, are not recognised or go misdiagnosed. Students are labelled as lazy, stupid and naughty and families are ashamed and unaware that in reality their children are likely to be highly gifted and intelligent. In reality, it is the conventional teaching methods that fail to unlock or frustrate these learners. Fortunately things are changing, and in the USA, Canada and the UK these conditions are recognised, and well-developed teaching methods and strategies exist to help these students reach their full potential. The UK is fortunate in having some of the world’s most outstanding schools along with first-class teachers who take immense pride in seeing their students with specific learning difficulties succeed and move on to universities and colleges, where again good levels of support and understanding continue to be offered to this group of students. What do Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, John F Kennedy, Bill Gates and Beethoven have in common dyslexia!”
John ‘Jay’ Brennan, Global Study Connections, USA (incoming)
“We do get requests from parents, particularly those from European countries, where the programmes available in their home country are sometimes not adequate to address the learning disability of their child. Unfortunately, students from Asia often come with undiagnosed learning disabilities. We work with a number of college preparation high schools in the Northeast USA who have been very accommodating to students with learning disabilities, as well as physical disabilities. Depending on the severity of the learning disability, a school may ask the parent to hire a special tutor to work with the student during the day, or after school, to help address the disability and allow the child to more successfully mainstream. Schools can promise the moon, but they need to be able to deliver, and the only assurance they will be able to deliver is a strong track record of accommodating these students.”
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or advisor partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.
This month IH Cape Town in South Africa nominates STB in Brazil. Gavin Eyre at the school explains this decision.
“I would like to nominate STB (Student Travel Bureau) Brazil for Agency of the Month. Even though STB is one of the largest and oldest agencies in the country, it is always a pleasure for my staff and I to deal with them. With over 10 years of interaction, I’m continually thrilled to see that they have not lost the professionalism and great manner in which they conduct their business and counsel each student. The personal touch is remarkable in an area with harsh competition from other great agencies. From initial inquiry to booking, their sales and head office staff are diligent and quick to respond to queries from my staff. They are a pleasure to work with and we look forward to many more years of business together.”
“We are delighted to hear that we have been nominated as Agency of the Month it is always great to hear that we are appreciated by our partner schools. Gavin and the team are a pleasure to work with, and we look forward to a prosperous 2014 working together!”
Marcia Mattos, STB, Brazil
Contact any advertiser in the this issue now
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