Eng UK asks gov – “help us” regain top ELT position
English UK has launched its new campaign positioning paper in a bid to regain the UK ELT sector’s world-leading position.
The paper, titled Help us become the world’s premier ELT destination again, contains nine asks of government and includes expansion of the youth mobility scheme, Youth Group Travel for children and resumption of the List of Travellers scheme.
It also asks for work rights for all students on a student visa to be restored and the right to apply for follow-on visas without leaving the country.
It goes on to ask for educational oversight and support for staff recruitment and international marketing, and a national growth target for ELT students in the UK.
“We are working hard to get back to the world-leading position we had pre-Covid, but the home of English language learning is deterring English language students and the issues facing us now can only be alleviated with government action,” said Huan Japes, membership director of English UK, the national association of English language centres in the UK.
According to the paper, external factors such as Covid-19 and the end of freedom of movement and ID card have “decimated” the industry.
A whopping 83% of the group study holiday market chose to go elsewhere than the UK in the summer of 2022 due to the new requirement of an expensive passport and visa for a short educational trip, according to English UK.
Meanwhile, EU competitors, Malta and Ireland, lost just 30% of its equivalent trade and the paper cited this downturn as the the UK’s “own making”.
“Our language schools are resilient and innovative, but UK ELT is competing with one hand tied behind its back,” the paper read.
“All the benefits ELT has brought to the UK can be ours once more. A few simple tweaks by the government could create a level playing field between us and our global competitors, and then we can do the rest,” it continued.
“All the benefits ELT has brought to the UK can be ours once more”
“Attracting English language students back to the UK needn’t be hard or expensive – but the sector cannot do it alone,” said Japes.
Japes told The PIE that, for him, the most impactful changes would be the introduction of the Youth Group Travel Scheme for children and for adults, seeing work rights restored.
“Simple, cost-neutral solutions would allow UK ELT to carry on doing what it does best: attracting the world to study here, and then our nation can enjoy the benefits of this once more,” he added.
The paper highlights the benefits the ELT sector brings to the UK, including a potential £1.5bn to the UK economy, as well as enhancing trade networks and cultural relations.
English UK, determined to get this message across to MPs, peers and opinion-formers, will be officially launching the paper in Parliament on May 11.
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