English UK leads successful Libya mission

June 03, 2013

An English UK–led trade mission to Libya has been hailed a success after attracting more than 160 business leaders and 600 prospective students to two days of events in Tripoli.

photo:An exhibition at English UK's mission to Libya

Twelve English UK members and three training providers participated in the government–funded trip, which had previously been postponed due to security concerns, and the delegation met with a Libyan government minister and representatives from the oil industry.

"It was really worthwhile and exceeded all our expectations," said Annie Wright, Deputy Chief Executive of English UK, who co–led the trip with Senior International Manager, Jodie Gray. "We just weren't expecting this much interest, because it was hard to tell how well our publicity had worked and we hadn't known how far the message would have penetrated. There is clearly huge demand in Libya for all kinds of training, and English language teaching in particular."

Wright rated the trip as arguably English UK's most successful mission to date."It was one of the most beneficial things we've ever done. The people we met were so pleased we were there. It was quite humbling that they were so keen to talk about what we could offer."

Delegates heard about significant opportunities within the oil industry. Khaled Gsis from the Petroleum Training and Qualifying Institute told visitors, "We need an army of English language teachers," while the HR General Manager of the National Oil Corporation, representing 20 companies, said learning English was a "goldmine" for oil company employees.

Welcoming the delegation and Libyan guests to a reception, Michael Aron, British Ambassador to Libya, said, "Libyans need English and you can help them."

The student event was "astonishingly popular" said Gray, with sample sessions "absolutely packed" with people enjoying the UK's interactive teaching methods. However, the delegation received mixed messages about the ease with which Libyan students could get UK visas, something which Gray will include in a report back to the department of UK Trade and Investment.

John Paul Smith, Languages for Business Manager of Live Languages, Glasgow, was positive about the mission and noted a burgeoning agency market. "I am very glad that the trip went ahead, that my experience there was very positive and that the potential for our industry there would appear to be huge. Students seeking Ielts, General and Business English were all in abundance, and the agency scene appears to be expanding rapidly."

The demand for teachers and teacher training is huge. From a UK point of view, we'll be much better placed to take advantage of this once the visa problems are ironed out, as I'm sure they will be," Smith added.

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