Londonderry based North West Academy of English has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win its first business in Romania.
The Academy, which is based at Northland Road and has received marketing support from Invest NI, has linked up with a leading college in Bucharest, which will see the first students from Romania come to Londonderry this year to study English over a period of three months. It has also won new business in France.
The company recently announced a £330,000 investment in sales and marketing activities to attract more students from Europe and other markets to participate in its English courses. Invest NI is providing assistance of £69,927 to an expansion project which is expected to create four new jobs including the appointment of a new sales and marketing professional.
The new export successes were welcomed by Des Gartland, Manager of Invest NI’s North West Regional Office in Derry and announced by John McGowan, Managing Director of the North West Academy of English.
As well as expanding its marketing activities in Europe and China, the Academy is linking up with further education colleges to attract overseas students from sectors such as catering, hospitality, tourism and nursing.
As part of the new marketing drive, the Academy took part in the recent Invest NI trade mission to the Russian business centres of Moscow and St Petersburg. It has also opened an office at Shenyang in China following Invest NI missions to this market.
Mr Gartland, commenting on Invest NI’s support for the expansion, said: “The North West Academy has played a key role in establishing Derry as a recognised international centre for English language tuition. The city is proving to be a cost-effective and welcoming location that is also immensely popular with students from many parts of the world.
“Our support for this important investment reflects our commitment to encourage and facilitate the growth in international markets of businesses focused on professional services.”
Mr McGowan, outlining the expansion, said: “The Romanian business is an extremely important breakthrough for us in a very challenging marketplace. It positions us for continued growth there. We’ve also won additional business in France. Research shows that there are currently two billion students worldwide wishing to study English as a means to improve their career prospects by achieving a recognised qualification.
“We have a strong base in several markets and want to build on this as quickly as possible both in terms of the markets in which we operate, and in the employment segments that we can attract to Derry. We are already recognised as one of the biggest providers of English tuition within the framework of the European Union’s Leonardo da Vinci programme and are accredited by the British Council.
“Our relationship with further education colleges will enable us to offer English tuition for developing career opportunities. By broadening our base we expect to drive exports to 100 per cent of sales and to more than double annual turnover,” he added.