On the move
Fergus Lury joins Language Study Centres (LSC) in the UK as Business Development Manager. He will be responsible for managing client relations as well as developing new partnerships. He joins LSC from Bell, in Cambridge, where he held a similar position. Fergus has close to 10 years of experience in the sector, having taught overseas and worked on summer courses for international students, and said that he has joined LSC “at an exciting time when they will be expanding their operations in the UK, USA and further afield”.
Óscar Porras has been appointed President of Aseproce, the Spanish agency association. Óscar has been a member of the Aseproce Management Committee for the past five years and founded his own agency, Midleton School. He said, “I am very excited about this new opening stage. There has been a great deal of work done in recent years and I want to continue doing so and begin new projects. The objectives are defined to enhance the quality of all ASEPROCE members, strengthen the image of the association and the fight against unfair competition.
Astrum Education in the UK is taking on two new recruits: James Heath joins as Deputy Director, Recruitment and Marketing (Asia), while Tim Joseph joins as the Principal of Chelsea Independent College. James will be based in Asia and began his time in international education with a private pathway provider in Bournemouth. He subsequently joined the UK university sector and established an International Study Centre, being responsible for all aspects of international development. Tim has over 30 years’ experience in the industry and has held many senior academic leadership positions, including posts as Assistant Professor at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman, and as a Principal of an independent sixth form college in Cambridge.
Vanessa Robinson Caturla is the new Sales and Promotions Coordinator at Spark Spanish, in El Puerto de Santa María, Spain. A recent modern languages graduate from the UK, Vanessa initially joined Spark as an intern and is now a permanent member of the team. “I love what we offer and sharing my passion for language learning and culture, and encouraging others to come and learn Spanish and explore our great, authentic Spanish town in Andalucía,” she said.
Q&A Educator association
This month, Bonnie McKie, Executive Director of Caps-I, talks about the association’s trade missions and diversification.
Full name: Canadian Association of Public Schools International
Year established: 2008
Number of members: 120
Types of members: Canadian public high schools
Main role: Advocacy, marketing, resource for K-12 international student programmes
Government recognition: yes
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: yes
How did your trade missions in Mexico and Brazil go earlier this year?
Thirty-three school districts representing eight different provinces across Canada participated between the two missions. Events were held in Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico, and Sao Paulo and Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Formal 1:1 meetings enabled our participating members to meet 42 education consultants/agency representatives in Mexico and 37 while in Brazil, for a total of over 1,500 meetings throughout the two weeks. It was the inaugural mission to Latin America for Caps-I and we continue to see indications it was a great success. Our participating members have signed multiple agreements with agencies and some have received student applications already for the 2015-2016 school year.
How else do you intend to further market development in Latin America?
Our Caps-I missions are followed by targeted social media campaigns and the association will continue to return to the region to follow up on various proposed scholarship initiatives and attend agent workshops.
Why were the destinations China, Italy and Germany chosen for upcoming trade missions?
These missions were chosen to meet the varying needs of our members. China was selected for new programmes or members new to the market, whereas Italy and Germany will meet the needs of our more mature English and French member programmes looking to further diversify their international student populations.
What challenges do member schools currently face with issues regarding international recruitment or central government policy?
Our member schools are always striving to better diversify their international student programmes. We have high rates of study permit and visa approvals in our key source markets but some of the new and emerging markets, such as Vietnam and India, are more challenging. Caps-I and member schools will also continue to support the efforts of Citizenship & Immigration Canada advocating for greater efficiency and quicker processing times.
What else has Caps-I been up to over the past 12 months?
Over the past year, our membership has continued to grow. Our annual conference attracted 250 delegates to Fredericton, NB, in May and was opened by the Governor General of Canada. We enhanced our social media presence with Twitter and focused efforts in Spain and Chile late in 2014. More recently, we have been working on a new series of student testimonial videos which we look forward to launching in early 2016.
What does the association have planned for 2016?
In February 2016, 20 members will accompany Caps-I on a mission to Italy. Our annual conference will be held from May 1-3 in the Gatineau/Ottawa region followed by our mission to Germany at the end of May. We have not yet confirmed mission activities for fall 2016.
Q&A Agency association
This month, we interview Maria Del Pilar Arbeláez, President of ANEX in Colombia
Full name of association: Asociación Nacional de Empresas de Estudios en el Exterior
Year established: 2001
Number of members: 16
Type of members: Owners of commercial establishments registered at Chamber of Commerce
Association’s main role: Promote study abroad
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
What has anex been up to over the past 12 months?
We have participated in trade shows and industry events and have also conducted training conferences on topics of interest to partners. We have attended international fairs like ICEF and have redesigned and restructed our website. We have distributed 1,000 brochures at trade shows in ICEF Berlin, Miami and Bogota.
What are the goals of Anex?
We are working very hard to position our association in the sector and we are working on getting recognition at the embassies and government entities where courses are offered.
What are some of the main Colombian student trends at the moment?
Today our students not only travel to learn languages but also to do Masters’ and Doctorates. They also take other courses such as cooking, design and hospitality, and learn languages such as Mandarin, French, Japanese, Russian, Italian and German. Nowadays we have students in five continents. The most popular countries are Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, France, Italy, China and Germany.
What is the process for a Colombian agency to become a member of Anex?
Agents should be in the sector providing information services for courses abroad for a minimum of five years. They need to be recommended by three active members; certified by at least one entity that has the endorsement or support of governments where courses are offered; have three recognised institutions abroad founders or major shareholders; and their administrators should not have been convicted for intentional crimes.
Industry issues - agents speak out
How much do factors relating to the political situation in your country affect agency business?
Sinem Bayraktutan, ATLAS Private Educational Services, Turkey
“Political and economic stability is important for every business. In Turkey we had a general parliamentary election in June. Since the ruling party failed to win a majority of votes and failed to conclude coalition agreement, we will have an early election in November 2015. Although Turkey is one of the top 20 economies in the world, having multiple elections in a short period slows down the economy and growth. Political uncertainty is affecting the people and they are becoming more cautious when planning their education, travel or investments. However, in our particular industry, these kinds of situations may become a motivation for young people to go abroad and improve their qualifications. The Turkish lira has weakened against foreign currencies recently. Strong currencies cause a shift in people’s decisions. We see changing trends in location choice, enrolment duration and school preference. Market discounts, promotions and affordable options are becoming more popular.”
Muhammad Hussain, M.K.H Consultancy Services, GCC/Middle East,
“Saudi Arabia over the last decade has experienced a stable political government along with the King’s scholarship programmes for native Saudi students to pursue higher education and research-oriented opportunities at top-notch institutions worldwide. The minimal taxes and well-defined election process in Saudi Arabia ensures the smooth transition of power along with a stable policy for the higher education industry. However, due to a recent sharp drop in oil prices, unstable regional political conditions and other external factors of the global economy, there has been an adverse effect on government policies and significantly decreased study abroad opportunities for students seeking government scholarships and funds. In August 2015, the government revised the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program adding strict terms and conditions, including English language skills and minimum academic criteria to qualify, which has sharply reduced our agency business for recruiting native Saudi students. It is forecast that recent changes will adversely affect the student visa issuance ratio, especially for the non-Saudi students.”
Wajih Benjalal, Aghwa, Libya,
“We have had many Libyan students refused visas for many different reasons, mainly in UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia. We believe the reason is to do with political situation in the country, since entry visas were given easily in 2012/2013 up until July 2014 when international embassies had to close down for security reasons. Nowadays students have to travel to nearby countries Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey to apply for a visa. We had to close down one branch and reduce employee numbers to keep us going. We, as an agency, had to work on other destination such as Malaysia, Eastern European countries and Turkey to maintain profit and continue providing the service to our clients.”
Agency of the month
In a series appearing each month in StudyTravel 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, BEET Language Centre in the UK nominates StudyCelta, international. Clive Barrow at the school explains this decision..
“I should like to propose StudyCelta as agency of the month. As their name suggests, they promote Cambridge Esol teacher training courses. This is a very difficult area of education to promote, especially for ITTC, competing with centres who do not charge VAT. However, we have managed to increase our international intake, especially on Celta courses, as a direct result of the hard work and loyalty of Javier Mora. Javier has grown his company over the years, to become one of the foremost agencies promoting high quality teacher training programmes worldwide. His no-nonsense approach, using only the best centres and only benchmark qualifying courses, is admirably altruistic, a rare quality these days.”
“We have been working with ITTC, the teacher training division of BEET Language Centre, for many years now. ITTC was the first Celta and Delta provider that we signed up with in England. Working with them has always been easy and a real pleasure. ITTC/BEET is a very professionally-run family business. One of the things we notice the most is their very low staff turnover. We have really been able to build a long lasting relationship with their marketing and academic team. In a way we feel like part of their family too.”
Javier Mora, StudyCelta, International
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