English UK targets ELT recovery with pioneering virtual international event
Over 600 delegates from 45 ELT markets attended the three-day English UK Summit this week.
The first day – which was free to attend for English UK members and international partners – had a full programme of 22 sessions including an address by government exports minister Graham Stuart.
Over days two and three, English UK members, corporate members and agents had around 2,000 online 1-2-1 business meetings.
New-format virtual event was "hugely successful"
Jodie Gray, English UK's interim chief executive, was delighted with the impact of the event:
"We are focused on recovery, and the English UK Summit was designed to help our members and the wider industry rebuild and succeed. We wanted to facilitate as many useful international discussions as possible, as well as providing updates on technical issues such as visas and how UK ELT centres are working to ensure student safety. It's been hugely successful. We've had some amazing feedback from attendees."
"We know that we're not going back to a pre-Covid UK ELT sector. This is a moment in time. The sector is changed for ever, so what we must strive for is not a new normal, or even a next normal, but a better normal. We have the opportunity now to create that better normal together."
Attendee Andy Bungay of Exeter Academy said: "I think it's amazing that you have managed to conjure up an international event which has worked so perfectly and provided such a fantastic boost to us and our agent partners; purely to be in contact and see each other has been amazing and I have made some great new contacts already."
Agents and members on Linkedin described the seminar programme as excellent, useful and insightful.
Welcome address with exports minister Graham Stuart
Addressing the event, exports minister Graham Stuart said:
"Each of you plays a part in the success of the ELT sector…each of you should be proud that you are not only contributing something worthwhile itself but ensuring long term prosperity."
"For those ELT centres trying to weather the storm, many of which I know were family built and are family run I say this: we see you, we value you and we are here for you. And I am grateful for the numerous letters I have received and responded to from across the sector which highlighted those troubles and suggested how the government can best work with the industry and face them together."
Summit seminar programme
Seminars and panel discussions on the first day of the Summit covered the UK student experience, market opportunities and understanding regulations, plus a plenary on how youth travel is evolving.
Miranda Brown of VisitBritain shared figures on ELT travel from a new report in their International Passenger Survey: Inbound Visitors who take an English language course. It shows that in 2018 they made up 1.5 per cent of visitors, who stayed 19 nights, almost three times as long as the average, spending £1,532 per visit compared to the average £658. "It makes them a valuable business group," she said.
Immigration lawyer Pat Saini of Pennington Manches, updating the conference on the new student and skilled worker routes from January, urged ELT centres to keep up to date on quarantine and UKVI rules, and apply for a sponsor licence now if they thought they would need one.
Thank you to our sponsors
A big thank you to our event sponsors who made it possible for us to run a free seminar programme and offer an affordable way for English UK members to meet partners:
The next English UK international event is StudyWorld, planned to take place under Covid-19 secure conditions at the QEII Centre in London on 22-24 January 2021.
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