Last month 12 leading educational agents attended an English UK inward mission that was designed to showcase Central England. The diverse group of agents came from across the Asian Pacific region (including China, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam) as well as from Poland and Russia. In addition to English UK staff, a representative from British Council Thailand accompanied the group throughout the week.
Inward missions are a combination of visits to teaching centres in a particular area of the country, social activities and one or two small-scale workshops, which provide agents with the opportunity to meet with language centre representatives from all over the UK. This spring inward mission was run in partnership with the British Council.
The week started with a full-day mini-workshop at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in London, attended by 12 English UK member centre representatives. After the workshop, members and agents headed across to the British Council's offices to enjoy a welcome reception and buffet dinner.
The group headed by coach to Cambridge on the Tuesday for the start of the Central England-based showcase element of the mission. Showcases give educators the opportunity to present their courses, facilities and services to agents. In addition to visiting the centre premises of both Cambridge Academy and Cambridge Regional College, participants enjoyed time taking in the major sights of the centre of Cambridge, before dinner at The Cambridge Chop House in the shadow of the historic King's College.
Wednesday took the group to 2 more member centres- Loughborough Regional College and IIS English in Nottingham. In Nottingham, the showcase included the opportunity to observe lessons, followed by perhaps the most memorable sightseeing element of the week, a guided walking tour of the city lead by non-other than Robin Hood himself.
The mission continued on to rural Tenbury Wells to see St Michael's College, where the visit included a delicious lunch complete with vegetables from the school's own garden, served in their 'Harry-Potter-like' dining room. The final stop took in the UK's second city, Birmingham, with a visit to Birmingham City College.
The second mini-workshop took place in Birmingham on the Friday. 10 centres attended this, including representatives from the Private, FE and HE sectors. The day concluded with a farewell dinner at Hotel du Vin.
Thanks to the hospitality of the host centres, the inward mission was a rich cultural experience for the visitors, really helping them to get a feel for Central England. After her return to Thailand, Issaree Klugnark from The Gate Education Group advised that: "Before this trip I only knew about London. I have already sent a student to Birmingham!"
A friendly atmosphere prevailed throughout the trip and the agents showed serious interest in doing business with English UK members. Feedback from educators and agents alike has been extremely positive. Kamila Karwowska from AM Consulting & Education, Poland, enthused that: "Visiting schools gives important insight and knowledge…This has been an extremely valuable experience which I can share with my clients." Commenting about that the mini-workshop element, Jonathan Quinn remarked that: "CES has come to depend upon the fantastic work done by English UK. The quality of the agents selected, the venues, the timings were all spot on... It's a great experience and a good way to support the hard work done by English UK."
Click here to view pictures of the inward mission.
English UK plans to hold the next inward mission in October 2012 with agents from Central, Southern and Eastern Europe.