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New owners for Languages International, NZ

After nearly 40 years in the ELT industry, the founders of New Zealand’s Languages International, Chris and Frances Woolcott, have passed ownership of the school to their management team.

The Auckland-based school has been in operation for nearly 40 years and now has new management. Photo: Languages International

"Our plans include further expansion in the workplace literacy space"

Managing director Darren Conway will take over the senior leadership position while the rest of the long-standing senior managers maintain their posts.

Founded in Auckland in 1978, Languages International was the first English language teaching school in the country.

It currently hosts some 150 students and will look to grow enrolments, according to Brett Shirreffs, marketing and operations manager and one of the new directors.

“Our plans include further expansion in the workplace literacy space, where we can make a contribution to NZ businesses and their employees, and the development of some new EFL course offerings,” he told The PIE News.

The country’s ELT industry is healthy, with established east and southeast Asian markets performing well and newer South American markets growing, he remarked.

However, the strength of New Zealand’s dollar making the country less competitive is a challenge for competitors, Shirreffs noted.

Concerns also include “wondering how much immigration settings, especially as regards student visas and student work rights, will be used as a political football in our current election season, which culminates towards the end of September,” he added.

The school’s impressive history boasts many achievements including being the first sole-purpose ESOL school in New Zealand and introducing English language teacher training into the country, which has enticed thousands of students to learn English in the southern hemisphere.

The school’s academic staff has also published over a dozen ELT textbooks across a number of publishers including OUP, CUP and Macmillan.

Previous owners the Woolcotts wish the new management all the best for their future plans.

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