FELTOM celebrates its 20th Anniversary with 3 day grand event
As one of the key events marking the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Federation of English Language Teaching Organisations Malta (FELTOM), an EFL Forum and industry workshop was held between 10th – 13th September. The unique event was Malta's first ever EFL industry workshop with the bonus of a discussion forum which was addressed by international key industry speakers.
The three day event was organized by FELTOM in collaboration with Language Travel Magazine. Distributed to 36,000 professionals across 110 countries, Language Travel Magazine is the leading international language industry publication. Its monthly issues provide a comprehensive insight into all aspects of the language training and travel industry.
With the support of sponsors and schools alike, over 50 agents from 28 countries around the globe were brought to Malta to experience at first hand what the islands have to offer. On their first full day in Malta, agents were taken on a familiarisation tour of Malta and Gozo. During the industry workshop on the second day, visiting agents were able to meet representatives from 27 local EFL schools on a one-to-one basis, to discuss the services being offered and to explore possibilities for future co-operation.
The three day event culminated in a discussion forum which examined the current state of the language industry and looked at its direction in the future. The Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Lawrence Gonzi made the opening address to agents, schools representatives’ and a number of invited guests. The Prime Minister recognized the success of this ‘pillar of the tourism industry’ which has been developed entirely through private entrepreneurship. With 50 licensed schools, the language travel industry is now accountable for 13.5% of all bed nights in Malta. It directly employs well over 2,000 people in academic, administrative and management positions. Many other sectors such as accommodation providers, restaurants, transport providers, providers of leisure services and local retail outlets all benefit from the EFL industry.
The Prime Minister promised that his government is committed to transform Malta into a destination of educational excellence by 2015. The EFL Monitoring Board within the Ministry of Education, which is directly responsible for licensing and monitoring all EFL operations will review teaching qualifications and look into establishing a national accreditation scheme. To achieve its targets within this sector, the government will strengthen the Monitoring Board’s regulatory framework by providing it with the human, financial and physical resources it requires to accelerate reform, and the government shall continue to work hand in hand with FELTOM and the entire industry to ensure continued and improved success. The Prime Minster concluded by acknowledging the importance of looking to new source markets outside Europe where the demand for international English education is strong, while at the same time supporting traditional European markets which have been the backbone of the ELT industry in Malta.
CEO of Language Studies International, Mr. David Immanuel delivered a presentation about ‘Trends and Challenges in the Language School Industry’. Mr. Immanuel who owns language schools in 9 countries including Malta, and has been involved in the language learning industry for 40 years was able to give an insight into the development and challenges facing this relatively young industry.
The President of FELCA, Mr. Masaru Yamada and Executive Director of English Australia, Ms. Sue Blundell, provided a snapshot of the most current statistics for the EFL industry in a presentation entitled ‘Industry Barometer - Today's Stats & Tomorrow's Forecast – An agents and schools viewpoint’. These latest statistics were collected from over 100 agencies from 10 major markets and 270 schools from 8 key EFL country destinations. In her presentation Ms. Blundell put forward what agents, agents associations and schools felt about the first 6 months of 2009 and what they are expecting during the second half of the year.
The Forum was concluded with a debate, moderated by Language Travel Magazine Director – Mr. Scott Wade, entitled “2020 Vision – The future of the EFL Industry”. The debate took a clear and insightful look at what’s on the horizon and the best practices for the industry for the next ten years.
FELTOM would like to thank its sponsors who made such an ambitious event a successful reality. This event could not have taken place were it not for the support given by Air Malta, Gozo Channel Company Limited, Dive Systems Malta, The Radisson Blu Hotel and Resorts, Studio Seven, The Malta Experience, Yellow Fun Water Sports, Language Travel Magazine and the Malta Tourism Authority.
Prime Minister's Speech
David Immanuel's Speech
Masaru Yamada and Sue Blundell's Presentation