||New English schools in USA, UK and Ireland
Intrax San Francisco and English Language Academy (ELA), Dublin, have moved to new locations, while EC has announced the opening of a new centre in Miami, and a new school, the Bloomsbury Language Academy, is about to open its doors in London.
At a new location in the Rincon Center, Intrax San Francisco is situated in the city’s financial district, a short distance from San Francisco Bay and the Ferry Building, and now has a capacity of 360 students, making it the largest ESL school in the city. The school has computer labs, expandable classrooms, study lounges and balconies overlooking the atrium of the famous Rincon Centre.
ELA, an English language and further education provider, has relocated to premises with a high-tech multi-media lab, student room and library on Capel Street in the heart of Dublin, just three minutes walk from O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare.
EC’s new school in Miami Beach, Florida, will open in 2012 with a student capacity of 220, and will be situated on the third floor of a building designed by the renowned architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, incorporating classrooms, offices and a large student access area. In a location with trendy cafés, bars and shops on the doorstep, the school is just a short walk from one of the USA’s most iconic beaches, South Beach.
Meanwhile, the Bloomsbury Academy opening last month is a new language school offering a range of specialist courses in small groups and one-to-one classes. The academy is in Central London in a five-storey Georgian townhouse on Bloomsbury Square, overlooking the Duke of Bedford’s private garden square. The building has been modernised to offer the latest in teaching facilities, including interactive whiteboards.
The English Network celebrates first year
The English Network (TEN), an association of ten independent language schools across England, has celebrated its first anniversary and is planning further marketing initiatives and multi-centre study options in the coming months.
Following a recent anniversary conference, marketing trips to Thailand in November and Georgia in Spring 2012 have been provisionally planned. The association made a successful visit to Colombia earlier this year and has recently hosted a fam trip for staff from Global Studies, Bogota. A return visit to Colombia has been scheduled for early 2012. TEN member, John Barnett, said, “A joint visit to the market has really helped to raise our profile there.”
The members have also agreed to develop their collective brochure and website. Students will be able to take a multi-centre course at different TEN schools, and the members will also offer a consultancy service to advise on further study within the network. A training conference for ensuring the quality of administration across the association will also be held in November. Association member, Richard Day, said, “TEN members are delighted to have had a very strong year and are looking forward to another active year as a group.”
Advisor 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 Study Abroad Canada Language Institute (SACLI) in Canada nominates JTB Gaiarec Inc in Japan. Susan Hawkins at the school explains this decision.
“Even though it is one of the largest agencies in the country, JTB Gaiarec Inc. exudes the feeling of being small, intimate and very expert. SACLI has worked with JTB over the past 15 years and has always found them to be determined above and beyond what would be required to ensure that their students have an exceptional experience. From the moment you enter their offices, the staff in particular Megumi Hiramatsu at the Global Club Department in the Osaka office demonstrate a dedicated, caring attitude and a sincerity that is remarkable in the business. In an increasingly competitive field, JTB presents itself uniquely. When students from JTB register to attend our school, we appreciate that under every circumstance in any situation and at any time, day or night the agency will act immediately to remedy, restore or confirm the placement of the student. For JTB, commitment to the needs and requirements of their clientele remains paramount long after the student travel experience is over. Quite simply, they care a lot. They are most deserving of this recognition.”
Industry issues - agents speak out
Q. What percentage of your business is for clients requesting courses that are off-peak?
Anastasia Sverkunova, ISTUDY, Ukraine
“Nearly 20 per cent of our clients ask for off-peak language courses. Compared to the previous year we have seen a growth in requests for off-peak courses. The main reason for this is that students who want to go abroad for intensive and efficient study understand that during off-peak courses they can study in smaller groups with a more personal approach, the costs are lower and the visa procedure is faster. Off-peak courses are popular among adults (business English, specialised courses etc.), who are not dependent on school/university holidays. The main destination is the UK. But winter courses in Switzerland are also very popular for children because they can mix studying more than one foreign language with active winter sports. Canada is also a popular destination for off-peak courses, mostly for children.”
Maria Karwowska, AM Consulting & Education, Poland
“As a majority of our clients are teachers of languages applying for EU grants, about 85 per cent of teachers select summer teacher courses. I did notice though that out of those 15 per cent interested in courses outside of the summer season, a majority tend to select spring courses coinciding with the Easter break, which shortens their absence from school to one week only. The other factor for selecting mostly summer courses seems to be the climate aspect; as 90 per cent of all our clients are interested in English langauge courses in the UK and Ireland, they seem to avoid these destinations in the autumn and winter when the weather is miserable. However, I would like to mention another growing tendency of all our clients of about 35-to-45 years of age, who select off-peak bookings because they want to avoid younger students on their courses.”
Juan Pablo Moro, World Studies, Chile
“The majority of our clients approach us from September onwards getting ready to travel mainly in January (summer time in South America). The students take advantage of the holiday (high school and university students are off for January and February) and the majority of the professionals who work tend to take their vacations around that date as well. It is not easy to find seats on the planes and this is why they start to plan their trip months in advance. We do have clients who like to travel in the northern hemisphere’s summer, but it is not as popular, because our winter break is just for two weeks and the students like to go for at least one month to study abroad (the average goes for up to 12 weeks).”
Lawrence Morello, IdiomasFuera.net, Spain
“Our company works primarily with the Spanish market and thus has a very large proportion of our bookings (roughly 80 per cent) coming for courses taking place during the summer months. Generally, the students that participate in courses during the off-peak months are older students taking advantage of vacation time from work or gap-year students looking to improve their language skills before entering the job market. That being said, one of our main marketing goals this year is to increase the number of off-peak bookings, we will be heavily promoting the discounted course prices, less expensive airline fees and lower student numbers to potential students. Taking Malta as an example destination, there are many language schools where students are able to study at a reduction of almost 40-to-45 per cent off the high season prices. We also plan on promoting holiday courses which will allow us to raise our December / January student numbers.”
On the move
Elizabeth Gunn has been appointed in the newly created role of Marketing Manager at Dollar Academy in the UK. The academy is establishing a top global agent base to enter into new markets. Ms Gunn joins the school from a senior role at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Paul Delaney has been appointed Sales Director for junior language course provider EAC in the UK. Based in Edinburgh, Mr Delaney and his team will play a pivotal role in driving sales for adult and executive courses at the company’s new flagship school in George Street. With 12 years’ EFL industry experience under his belt, Mr Delaney brings a wealth of expertise including six years’ heading up agent sales at OISE Group and Eurocentres.
David Lowe has been appointed Principal of both Abbey College London and DLD College, London in the UK. Mr Lowe has carved out a career in independent schools as a teacher, head of department, and deputy head, and was appointed Principal of Cambridge Tutors College in 1997. Mr Lowe moved to DLD as Principal in 2008.
New campus-based college, Ovingdean Hall International Language College in the UK, has appointed three key members of staff. After six years as School Director of EF Brighton, Sarah Williamson (left has been appointed Programme Director. Rosie Gerrard-Wright (centre) has been appointed Director of Studies following a role as Director of Studies at EF Brighton. Sales and Marketing Director, Joshua Gabriel (right), joins Ovingdean from Edgware Academy in London. At Ovingdean he will be responsible for the continued growth of the student body and the college’s global marketing initiatives.
Cambridge Education Group in the UK has appointed Rory Curley (left) as Market Development Manager with responsibility for Latin America, Switzerland and Sweden and Simon Baker (right)as Market Development Manager for Turkey, specialising in English language programmes for Stafford House School of English across Europe. Mr Curley has worked in both academic and marketing roles in Europe and Asia, most recently as Sales and Marketing Manager at GCI in Ireland, while Mr Baker previously worked as Head of Sales and Marketing at Twin Group.
Work & Travel
US amends exchange programme visa
The US State Department has made changes to the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program that are designed to address the record numbers of complaints about living and working conditions received in 2010, and to prevent participants engaging in or being the victims of criminal activity.
Only participants from countries in the Visa Waiver Program may enter the USA without pre-arranged jobs, while a pilot programme is in place to ensure students from Russia, Belarus, Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine have placements prior to arrival. Further changes are that sponsors are required to fully vet any third parties which assist in performing the functions of the programme. All job offers must also be fully vetted by sponsors, and participants must be contacted on a monthly basis.
“Many things are positive and have been a long time coming. Overall they are a step in the right direction,” said Casey Slamin, Work & Travel USA Program Director at InterExchange, one of the official sponsors in the scheme. Slamin also advised that InterExchange were involved in the consultation process from an early stage and were well placed to absorb the changes. “We’ve had internal controls and a vetting process that has been getting tighter every year,” he said.
However, Slamin also called for the process to be completely transparent and data-driven, adding that some of the changes, such as the pilot programme, had yet to be backed up with any relevant statistical justification. Requiring a job placement long before arriving in the summer could prove problematic, he added.
New student accommodation in Rotterdam
City Living, a student accommodation provider in the Benelux region, has purchased the former headquarters of the Rotterdam Social Insurance Bank for conversion into a 252-room student hotel, intended to attract international students to the Netherland’s second largest city.
Located close to the Oostplein student district and within walking distance of Erasmus University, the hotel will offer fully furnished rooms, private sports facilities, 24-hour security and concierge, and bicycles for each resident. Flexible tenancy packages will be available, ranging from a few weeks to a 40-week academic year. Agnés Riban, Director of Carlyle, the US private equity group which manages City Living in partnership with the MacGregor family, said, “This latest acquisition in Rotterdam will enable City Living to provide a new, high quality alternative for students in a city which suffers from a significant undersupply of suitable accommodation for students.”
Work and Travel
Harper Adams accredits VSO training
Volunteers with VSO, the UK-based international development charity, will now head abroad with a qualification accredited by Harper Adams University College in the UK. Professional volunteers with experience in fields such as education, health, business and IT will be awarded the University College Foundation Degree Certificate in Professional Skills for International Development, after completion of pre-departure training.
Harper Adams will also accredit the work of 18-to-22 year olds on the Global Xchange Programme, where volunteers will gain a Foundation Certificate through work placement, structured training and community action days.
Emily Lomax, Volunteer Journey Manager at VSO, said, “Accreditation of volunteer training has been an important step for VSO, in both reflecting the quality of the blended learning programme we already provide and in being able to offer our volunteers a tangible qualification to benefit their future prospects. The response from volunteers so far has been really enthusiastic and we’re looking forward to continued work with Harper Adams in the future.”
CIBT unveils Global Learning Network in Beijing
CIBT Education Group recently hosted a conference in Beijing to introduce its Global Learning Network (GLN) to the Chinese market. Through broadcasting studios based in Vancouver and Beijing, GLN will provide real-time lessons across Asia, with each studio able to connect to up to five classrooms. Students will gather at CIBT partner schools and will be able to interact with the native English-speaking teacher in the studio, as well as an in-class tutor.
Toby Chu, Chief Executive Officer of CIBT, explained, “Our conference in Beijing drew a full house of participants including government officials, academic partners and business school owners. This level of interest demonstrates Asia’s great demand for a new medium to deliver western education that is less costly than the traditional face-to-face delivery in a classroom and higher quality than online, self-study delivery where Asian students find it less desirable to learn in a disconnected environment.”
GLN has been developed over a three year process and will begin with lessons in ESL, Overseas Studies, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. Students who complete the course will graduate with Canadian certificates and will have further study opportunities within CIBT’s global network of schools, colleges and universities.
This month we talk to Rob McKay, Chairman of English New Zealand, who answers our questions about the association’s recent activities.
Year established: 1986
Number of members: 31
Type of members: Full and associate
Association’s main role: to provide advocacy, quality assurance, and marketing services for quality English language providers
Government recognition: yes
Code of practice: yes
Complaints procedure: yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: Agent workshops are held in nine different countries each year
Rob McKay, Chairman and Kim Renner, Operations Manager
PO Box 35283
Phone: +64 33861222
Fax: +64 33861225
What has your association been up to in the last 12 months?
Marketing, quality assurance and advocacy are the three main areas of work for us. In the last 12 months we’ve continued to put much effort into seeking positive change within the peak body for all sectors of export education in New Zealand. It is really pleasing to have the government announce a new commercially driven agency to align government departments in support of our work. We are looking forward to supporting the growth strategy outlined by our current government.
How were member schools affected by the Christchurch earthquake earlier this year?
The earthquake in February had a significant impact on education providers in Christchurch. Five of our members have continued in Christchurch and are now seeing a positive upturn in enrolments. We worked closely with government agencies during the period immediately after the quake and supported both member and non-member English language schools in the region. The support that comes from being part of a quality industry body was truly evident during this time member schools throughout New Zealand offered tremendous support accepting students who wanted to transfer, offering to take displaced staff and fundraising for the earthquake recovery effort.
What challenges could schools/the export education sector face in 2012?
We continue to work for truly competitive immigration settings. The current government has indicated its intention to support the quality end of the market obviously we support that.
Do you think changes to the Study to Work visa enabling students to stay on and contribute to the country’s skilled workforce and economy will have a positive impact on enrolments?
This immigration change will have less impact on our sector than others; however, we may see some increased growth from China.
What marketing activities are you planning for the near future?
We have a full marketing calendar with 12 agent workshops worldwide over a 12-month period. Our next workshops are in Colombia and Brazil. Next year we will be looking at how we can align our activities more closely with the activities of the new Crown Agency.
• Delta Air Lines in the USA has launched a new, twice-weekly non-stop service between Atlanta and Shanghai, reinstating a route that had been suspended due to the economic downturn. “By resuming service between Atlanta and Shanghai, we’re continuing our strategy of connecting the world’s most important business markets,” said Vinay Dube, Delta Senior Vice President for Asia Pacific. “Nonstop service between these key global cities will mean more opportunities for economic development and job growth in Delta’s hometown of Atlanta as well as in Shanghai.” Delta has also commenced non-stop services between Detroit and Beijing. Meanwhile, KLM has expanded its number of flights per week to Guangzhou to three, meaning the Dutch carrier now offers 53 weekly flights into Greater China.
• From November, Air France will commence a three-times-per-week service to Cape Town from Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport. The flights will have a total seating capacity of 309 seats. The new route represents part of Air France and KLM’s expansion policy into Africa, which has added several new destinations in 2011 in addition to Cape Town: twice-weekly services to Freetown (Sierra Leone) and Monrovia (Liberia), as well as a new connection to Bata (Equitorial Guinea) and daily flights to Conakry (Guinea).
• Air passengers are likely to see a five per cent increase in ticket prices as airlines struggle to deal with rises in fuel costs, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) has warned. “With no sign of a significant decline in oil prices that are staying stubbornly above US$100 a barrel, airlines are fighting to stay profitable and have pushed up ticket prices in order to recoup costs. They have had no choice but to hike fares,” said Brian Pearce, Chief Economist at Iata. Profit forecasts within the industry have been downgraded by the association as they were based on a prediction of US$96 per barrel, while the year-to-date average price of oil is over US$110 per barrel.
• The ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ plane has finally arrived in its origianl destination of Charlotte, North Carolina, where it will become a permanent exhibit at the Carolinas Aviation Museum. The US Airways A320 flight made a famous emergency landing on the Hudson River in January 2009 after losing power in both engines. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who was hailed a hero for his quick-thinking, the crew and passengers were reunited for a special event to commemorate the arrival. The President of the museum, Shawn Dorsch, said the plane was “a major international aviation icon”, but that it would take months to reassemble.
• Italy’s national carrier, Alitalia, has inaugurated services from Rome to Beijing and Rio de Janeiro as part of its expansion into “target markets”. The Rome Flumicino-Beijing flight is operating four times a week, with an additional flight to be added in October. The Rio route is not serviced directly by any other airline, and flies four times a week. “China and Brazil represent, together with India and Russia, target markets for the strategy of expansion of intercontinental and international routes; the strategy focuses on areas of the world with the highest growth rate for leisure and business traffic,” explained Giancarlo Schisano, Alitalia’s Director of Operations.
• EasyJet has launched new services from London Gatwick to Verona (Italy) and Manchester to Bilbao (Spain), and will be opening a route from London Luton to Salzburg (Austria) from December. The low-budget airline has also agreed to establish a base at London Southend Airport’s new terminal from April 2012, with around 70 flights per week serving 10 destinations, including Barcelona (Spain) and Faro (Portugal). The airport, located in Essex, will have a new, dedicated station providing direct train services to London Liverpool Street and Stratford up to eight times per hour in the run up to the 2012 Olympic Games.
• Vietnam Airlines will launch direct services from London Gatwick Airport in the UK to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh from the winter. Initially, four flights per week will be operated, before the service expands to twice daily. Vietnam Airlines Chief Executive, Pham Ngoc Minh, said, “Launching the first direct route between Vietnam and the UK is a breakthrough in our European route development strategy. This will create favourable conditions for development and cooperation between the two countries.”
Please see the digital issue of Language Travel Magazine for the Grapevine section