Cardiff-based English language school Celtic English Academy is gearing up for significant business recovery and growth through exports, after winning a number of international contracts and diversifying its overseas offerings, with the assistance from the Welsh government.
Over the past three years, the British Council-accredited school, which offers online, in-person and hybrid English courses for international students, has landed four major new contracts in Europe, Africa and Asia, which ‘she considers essential to help propel it towards pre-pandemic levels.
After a difficult year, the Academy now aims to develop its business with a focus on exports and overseas contracts. More recently, it won two distance learning contracts with Kuwait and Vietnam, which will start in 2022. The projects will see the school offer online sessions with national partners in the country to support the development of teachers in the country. ‘English.
The contracts stem from Celtic English Academy’s successful involvement in a project in Zambia last year where it was one of 20 English language teaching centers in the UK to receive a £10,000 grant for the Partnership Language Improvement Project (PRELIM) to provide English language and teacher development courses to over 150 English teachers nationwide. The program was part of a wider international programme, run by the British Council, designed to help improve the confidence, language and teaching skills of members of the English Teaching Association (ETA) in 40 countries.
Before the pandemic, Celtic English Academy also secured a six-year contract with the Swiss government, worth over £1.4million, to provide 12 weeks of English language training to 50 unemployed Swiss nationals per year to help them improve their employment prospects. Training will be delivered in Wales, once restrictions allow, at the Cardiff-based school’s Academy. At the end of their studies, students will take the Cambridge First or Advanced Certificate exam, giving them an internationally recognized English language qualification that will boost their CV.
Following these new contracts won and the growth of exports over the past five years, Celtic English Academy is now looking to further increase its international presence and focus on Latin America, Japan and the Middle East as key pathways for business recovery and export growth. The school has recruited staff in Japan and Brazil and is exploring in-country teaching opportunities in Saudi Arabia in response to the growing demand for English education in the region and changing national goals.
Shoko Doherty, CEO of Celtic English Academy, said: “We are extremely proud to export our English teaching services around the world. We have experienced significant growth since we opened our doors over 15 years ago and our new contracts are the result of our strategy of continuously focusing on diversifying and developing our international links.
“Exporting is essential for us as a company. Working with students and teachers of various nationalities, along with our focus on being agile and adapting to change, has helped us stay resilient, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, as we are not dependent on a single market or a single region. ”
Founded in 2004, Celtic English Academy began teaching English in four classrooms in serviced offices in Cardiff to learners who would progress to study at local universities as international students. Today, the school typically teaches over 1,200 students a year from more than 50 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Italy, Spain and Japan, with exports accounting for 95% of trade.
Following the pandemic, the Academy quickly adapted to offer online and hybrid distance education. Over the past year, it has also expanded its “in-country” teaching offerings overseas, supplying teachers to a number of regions, after securing several export contracts.
Support from the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund for Digital Innovation has enabled the school to further diversify its services with the installation of high quality conference camera equipment which has enabled hybrid teaching as well as the creation of a suite of professional development and e-learning courses. tools for teachers abroad.
Key to its export success has been support from the Welsh Government over the years, including access to the Overseas Business Development Fund which has enabled company representatives to visit new markets and to attend trade missions to find potential new customers or bring new products to already established markets. These include the launch of two Junior Summer Schools for 11-17 year olds in North and South Wales over the past five years.
Shoko added, “Most of our business has been secured by traveling overseas and directly meeting new customers. These interactions have been crucial both in attracting students to study at our school in Wales, as well as in building relationships to secure in-country contracts in the target territories, so we are very grateful to the Welsh Government for his support that made this possible. .”