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Travel, technology and togetherness

English UK’s Susan Young rounds up its latest conference

Nineteen months and a pandemic separated English UK’s last two face-to-face events. The 2019 marketing conference was about operating in a maturing market, 2021’s was about innovation, reflection and building back better. “What’s wonderful about running face-to- face conferences in this strange new world is that just getting you all through the door feels like a victory,” quipped English UK’s chief executive, Jodie Gray.

The main takeaways of the day were:

Travel

Loosening restrictions boosted both the mood and agent registrations for StudyWorld Autumn, which was held in the previous days. Educators reported positive meetings and enquiries, some swapping stories of crammed classrooms.

Technology

After 18 months of business by Zoom, it was fitting that many sessions focused on technology. Archie Pollock rehabilitated email as a marketing tool, reminding everyone to follow best practice.

Google’s new Multitask Unified Model, MUM, also popped up in two sessions. For once, it’s good news for language centres, because it will provide the best source of information on any search, but translated into the user’s language. So, Brazilians seeking IELTS courses in London will start seeing the best content rather than simply a local agent’s offer.

“What changes is the number of students you can reach – that gives you lead time to think about it and hopefully start squirrelling a bit of cash away for a bigger marketing budget next year,” said Richard Bradford.

The other acronym to watch, said John Heffernan, is EAT (expertise, authority and trust, or how your content needs to satisfy Google for SEO).

Togetherness

Not just hugs of colleagues catching up after 18 months (though there was plenty of that), but the more collaborative way of working, which has helped English UK members through the pandemic marked this coming together. That included member-led sessions, the

announcement of a new PRELIM project to support overseas English language teacher development and a plea to support RefuAid’s programme to get refugees the English qualifications they need. As Jodie said: “If we can take that commitment and belief that our great industry does good in the world, and add innovation and a dose of collaboration, it doesn’t matter if we’re making it up as we go along, we’ll be just fine.”

Image courtesy of Library
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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