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Canada latest to launch agent certification programme

Canada is the latest country to mandate a training programme for education agencies interested in gaining certification relating to their Canadian counselling skills. The Canadian embassy in Germany officially launched the Canada course for Education Agents at the weekend on the fringes of the ICEF Berlin event for international educators.

Gonzalo Peralta, Georgina Galloway, Markus Badde, Thilo Lenz and Paul Schroeder, at the Canada Course signing ceremony at the Canadian Embassy in Berlin

"There's so much flexibility from language programmes in French and English to career colleges, to colleges and universities"

The course, delivered online, is the result of a collaboration between Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing (CCIEM), and ICEF, which already offers its own more generic ICEF Agent Training Course (IATC).

The UK, New Zealand and Australia also offer their own national training schemes for agencies, delivered by the British Council in the UK, Education New Zealand in NZ and IES in Australia respectively.

The new Canadian course offers information on Canada’s complete education system, costs, visa rules and lifestyle. Agencies have the option of sitting an exam (CAN$300) after completing the free, self-paced training course, which will enable them to be listed on the ICEF website and promoted via CCIEM.

“It can be very challenging to find information, to know where to go and what tools to use”

“One of the things that’s challenging about working in Canada is that each province and territory has jurisdiction over its own education,” said Georgina Galloway of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada.

“It can be very challenging to find information, to know where to go and what tools to use. We brought all of that together under the Canada Course.”

To promote the new initiative, travel healthcare insurance provider Guard.me, which has its HQ in Canada, is offering a scholarship to reduce the exam price from CAN$300 to CAN$175 for the first 50 certified individuals. Agents must take the exam by 30 March and complete a questionnaire to provide course feedback.

Recently, Canada has been working to increase its position in the international education market, an export that contributes CAN$8 billion to the economy. The government will soon release its first national strategy for international education after receiving recommendations from an advisory panel that included increasing the number of international students to 50,000 per year by 2022.

“The beauty of Canada’s education system is that there’s so much flexibility from language programmes in French and English from the K to 12 sector to career colleges, to colleges and universities,” said Galloway. “It can be very complex and that’s why we want to take agents through that process so that it becomes transparent as well.”

Agents interested in participating in the pilot scheme should get in touch via training@icef.com.

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