The group will move into the Irish market through a partnership with Apollo Language Centre to provide young learner courses in Dublin and Cork and eventually a year-round centre in Dublin for adults.
A second collaboration with Cambridge International School will see the creation of English language and entrepreneurship courses for both adults and children.
“The Irish market is going to be stronger than the English market on the basis of all known performance”
Speaking with The PIE News, group director Alex Perkins said the company has been eager to expand into Ireland because of its more favourable trading climate compared to the UK.
“The Irish market is going to be stronger than the English market on the basis of all known performance; the main driver for that being a flexible approach to immigration and the ability to work and study at the same time,” he said.
Apollo Language Centre, led by Steven O’Dwyer, will retain its own name and product offering. LAL will provide best practice and mentoring while marketing and selling on its behalf to students. “It should be a win-win,” said Perkins.
Through the partnership with CIS, the group will introduce “Thought Leader” courses for adults and “Teenage Boss” for young learners. The courses will combine English language learning with business training to “help them become the business leaders of tomorrow,” said Perkins.
Cambridge will be an addition to LAL’s existing UK locations in Berkhamsted, Brighton, London, Tavistock, Torbay and Winchester. “We have always been looking for a new kind of way to have Cambridge in our portfolio rather than just banging in yet another language school,” remarked Perkins. “I think our product is unique and different.”
Perkins said the new directions are in response to the changing landscape of the global ELT market.
“It’s a recognition of a consolidating market and a product which is beginning to be seen as tired by a clientele which has ever more demanding aspirations and requires a provider industry to be far more creative and innovative in its approach,” he said.
Other plans on the horizon for the group include deepening its partnership with Incredible English in Goa and relaunching El Gouna School in Egypt. Perkins said the group intends to open more schools elsewhere in Asia in 2017.
“We think this is the way to go. We think the international traveller is getting a little bit sick of coming to anglophone destinations. But we believe they will trust our brand to deliver the same high quality of English with whomever we associate, wherever it may be,” he said.
In addition to the India school and six UK locations, LAL also operates centres in Malta, South Africa and four centres in the US.