Riding the wave:
“It was obvious to us – like, I think most people in the industry – that teaching English in
a single location was not going to be a sustainable model”. These are the words of one
language teaching entrepreneur and, as Beckie Smith reports, many others have made
the same successful journey from one centre to global businesses by understanding the
changing aspirations of their client base and directing their companies accordingly.
“OUR STUDENTS HAVE become more
demanding – and rightly so. Things that would
have been seen as extras are now expected to
form part of the package,” relates Jonathan Quinn, marke-ting
director at global operator Centre of English Studies.
Quinn is reflecting on the changes the company has seen
since it was founded 40 years ago by his mother, Rosemary
Quinn, in Dublin, Ireland, prior to he and his two brothers
becoming involved in the business.
CES now has schools in eight cities in Ireland, the UK
and Canada – which, combined with the increased ease of
global mobility, has created opportunities Quinn couldn’t
have imagined back then.
“I recently had a discussion with a Brazilian client that
wanted to transfer from her program in Dublin over to our
centre in Toronto as her boyfriend had been offered a place-
ment in a law firm – a change that a few years ago was not
possible,” he says.
Business owners who have seen their companies evolve
and flourish relate that standard language learning has been
replaced by a focus on personal interests or career-relevant
skills, alongside a global mindset and experience.
CES was an early adopter of “language-plus” programming
– now seen as a reliable way to stand out from the crowd –
offering Ireland’s first English and rugby program.
In Australia, BROWNS English Language School, which
celebrated its 15th anniversary last year, has similarly
combined classroom teaching with tennis, surfing and scuba
diving, as well as volunteering and internships. It also offers
a “demi-pair” package, where students live with families in
exchange for part-time au pairing, where they practise their
newfound English skills.