By Matthew Knott, News Editor of Study Travel Magazine


The industry events season has certainly been in full swing over the last couple of weeks, as you will notice from our news and grapevine sections, and the editorial team at Study Travel Magazine have enjoyed meeting educators and agents at many of these.

Last week our Staff Journalist Claire Twyman participated in the annual workshop of Malta’s language school association Feltom. Her report contains an interview with association CEO Genevieve Abela in which she anticipates that the forthcoming data on 2013 will reveal two concurrent trends, essentially cancelling each other out to make a relatively stable year: a decline from the traditional EU markets, compensated for by an increase in longer-haul non-EU students.

An interesting parallel can be drawn the EU’s other ‘smaller’ ELT destination: Ireland. School contributors to an Ireland Market Analysis feature I am preparing for the May issue of Study Travel Magazine have cited similar trends.

Through much of the global economic crisis we noted the resilience of the outbound market in countries such as Spain and Italy. Is the recession finally biting the study abroad industry, or are clients favouring the traditional destination of the UK currently? No doubt further data releases throughout the year, including STM’s agency surveys and market analysis features, will shed some light.

One news story of particular interest then for educators in those countries, not to mention agents in Italy, is the return of the Italian PON funding scheme. After a barren 2013, the language study scholarship programme for school groups has expanded in terms of numbers, length of stay and funding. So much so that one contributor to the article fears the UK may not be fully prepared for the wave of applications for early autumn study, the most popular periods for the groups.

Another workshop we have covered this week is the British Boarding Schools Workshop (BBSW), and Director Suzanne Rowse shared a few observations on international recruitment with me. Namely that the international market offers steady growth potential for a sector that is facing declining domestic enrolments. 

There was a similar buzz at this week’s WETM-IAC conference, focusing on the work experience, volunteer and au pair sectors of the industry, some of which we will cover in the cover story of the April issue of STM, which you should be receiving very soon.

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