During 2014 three new members have been voted on to English UK's Main Board, the body which guides the association's strategy and decision-making.
It's important that members understand who is representing them on the Board and can approach them at our events. So here's a bit more background on our newest Board members, all of whom have long careers in ELT.
Alex Perkins is Managing Director of LAL Language Centres UK Ltd and CEO of LAL Language Centres Holding Ltd.
I started off in1988 as course director of a summer school, before going on to my first teaching job in Spain. Then there were a couple of years where I bounced between Europe and the UK when I was doing my TESOL and managing, being a course director for summer schools and working as a teacher and IELTS examiner.
When I got my Master's degree I went to work in Saudi Arabia for the British Council, and on an oil installation before coming back to the UK again with my young family.
After a while spent as a teacher and course director I became operations manager for the Elizabeth Johnson Organisation, then general manager of Regent Summer Schools, then general manager of LAL Centres UK. Finally I became CEO of LAL (Holdings) Ltd which is where I have been ever since. In that time the group has doubled in size in terms of turnover and number of courses, and I move between Head Office in London and the Torbay office."
I think the sector ticks a lot of boxes in that it is very benign in terms of the impact of us as a global society. I think it is generally a well-intended and well-meaning industry.
I like building a proper business acumen and trying to help the industry. I talk to a lot of other business leaders around the world to try and shape what I think the business needs. It is a very small and fragmented industry which desperately needs to get its voice heard and needs to be very focused. I joined to try and shape it and contribute expertise at a local level.
Andrew Fisher is Managing Director of OSCARS International. He has operated businesses within the language travel industry since 1992 and has been a member of the English UK Enterprises Board.
I was doing a sports management degree at Birmingham University and in the summer holidays I started working for organisations offering activity camps for children learning English. Like so many people I started in this business thinking, I could do it better than this.
I did a dissertation on sessional English Language and activity camps and set up my own company after four years in the travel industry, getting British Council accreditation in 2002 and expanding our EAC schools until we sold the business to TUI. I found it was a totally different skill set from running a medium sized enterprise to working for a PLC and I chose to leave in 2011 and concentrate on another business I own.
Our after-school club business had been running since 1992, so that kept me busy for a year before doing some very small juniors courses to see whether I still had the motivation to operate in our industry. We gained British Council accreditation for Oscars International and ran courses in five venues this summer. Our plans aren't to take over the world, but to run really good-quality English junior summer courses and to work with our agency partners to make sure their clients have a wonderful experience in the UK.
To be successful in our business you have to be completely and utterly passionate about it, and after a couple of years of losing that passion, what I am doing now has brought it back. If you get a parent on the phone at 11pm you can't ignore an issue. Children and parents and agents are the crux of my business. How you react to problems is where you get respect."
I was on the enterprise board for about four years, and I wanted to get back onto the board. I felt now I have 25 years' experience and I know quite a bit about junior courses, one of the biggest growth areas for industry, I can offer something positive. I hope to contribute positively and use my board work to benefit the industry as a whole.
Daphne Laing is director of the Centre for Language and Communication Training at University of Wolverhampton.
I did CELTA immediately after I graduated, started as a teacher of English abroad in Italy and Switzerland, then on returning to UK and starting a family, started my own freelance business in Cornwall, running a study centre for individual students, and subcontracting and tendering for summer school provision; I moved to mid Wales and worked for Cambridge Examinations and executive language training for 10 years.
I did a Master's in international business then joined the university as a lecturer in international business. Now I deal with ELT and TESOL, manage staff and oversee our testing requirements, advise students on border agency issues, and handle the language provision in our transnational education partners all over the world.
I'd like time to be doing my research, which is in the area of global citizenship and intercultural communications, but work is all-consuming at the moment.
I love the diversity, I love that it is people-focused. It's about all of the things I have always been interested in. My family call me an ethnographer - I love observing and I try to understand how people communicate across boundaries of all kinds, national, cultural, language.
I come from the public sector, which is important. Our industry is not represented within higher education, and HE is under-represented in our sector. It's been very nice to engage with the wider industry because you can get totally tied up with international stuff and feel like you are not supported anywhere. The majority of meetings I go to, they don't understand at all, particularly about quality assurance in terms of language requirement. I realise that's not unique to HE but FE as well.
View all English UK board and committee members.