Partner agency interview: Alec Bessey

Alec Bessey is a director of English UK Partner Agency Oxfordcrown Ltd, which specialises in bringing students from the Russian and Czech markets to UK summer schools, boarding schools and universities. 

How did you become an agent? 

I've been an agent since 1996. I was doing teacher training in Moscow, where I met my present business partner.

It was the end of perestroika, things were changing, people had some money and there were private schools being opened in Moscow, and we decided the future looked promising for enterprise and have been doing it ever since.

What do you specialise in?

We have a programme of twinning UK boarding schools with Russian high schools, and have recently started sending English children to Bulgaria so the Russian students can meet them there too.

We're testing the water on some other ideas too, but it's mainly British schools, independent schools, placements, twinning programme with sister schools.

What do you like best about being an agent?

I like the independence. All my life I worked for government and big organisations with a monthly salary. When I retired I found it something of a challenge to work for myself but now I enjoy it.

Why did you choose to join the Partner Agency Scheme?

I joined because it adds credibility to us to be part of English UK. It's been very useful for us recently when we had to provide references to become an agency for a school.

It's good to have the prestige, and it's very useful to be able to find out what's happening on matters such as visas. The staff are really helpful and the newsletters are full of information as well.

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