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DIFC teams up with Levant to drive int’l student recruitment

Ireland’s Dublin International Foundation College has joined forces with Istanbul-based Levant Education to establish a dedicated Regional office in Istanbul to promote DIFC’s Foundation pathway programs across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Azerbaijan. 

Turkey. Credit: Pixabay

DIFC's HERO in Istanbul has also begun to build an agent network

In 2017, Levant launched its Higher Education Regional Office service, and with a number of international clients interested in the model, DIFC has become the first to put pen to paper.

“Higher education recruitment is an intensive and complex activity requiring local market knowledge”, explained David Mitchell, Levant Education’s founding director.

“We feel there is more energy towards Ireland because it’s a cheaper destination compared to the UK”

“So having an office and dedicated team on the ground will vastly improve DIFC’s ability to service agents and students in this region.”

Ireland has seen a significant increase in the number of language students arriving from Turkey in particular, and factors including EU membership, post-study work visas, quality and value money make studying at university in Ireland an attractive option for international students.

Levant provides partners with a product manager in-country, working from the Istanbul office and able to manage agent support and marketing campaigns locally, in local languages.

The product manager is trained in close liaison with the partner, works to recruitment targets and reports to the HERO director and the HERO client college.

DIFC offers foundation programs for international students in Dublin and Cork, working closely with Irish HEIs as well as UK universities.

Students studying Health Sciences, Business & Management, Engineering & Technology, and Sciences at DIFC have gone on to study at top universities in Ireland, the UK and globally, and are guaranteed a university placement upon successful completion of the program.

DIFC president and CEO Diarmuid Moroney said he is enthusiastic about the link up.

“The HERO service provides recruitment reach and marketing support in a challenging but fascinating region in the coming years. DIFC is experiencing significant growth and with ambitions to open a third centre in Galway over the coming year, we felt it was important to explore potential new marketing opportunities,” he added.

The service reflects a growing trend in higher education recruitment, as third parties provide marketing and recruitment services ‘white labelled’ for HE providers. 

Regarding the move to collaboration with Irish institutions, Mitchell told The PIE News that Ireland’s economic and political situation made it an easy choice.

“Having an office and dedicated team on the ground will vastly improve DIFC’s ability to service this region”

“We feel there is more energy towards Ireland because it’s a cheaper destination compared to the UK, and value for money which is sellable in the market,” he said, adding that “the fact that it is remaining in the EU and it offers post-study work visas, Ireland ticks all of those boxes.”

Though the headline deal with DFIC is the first agreed partnership, Mitchell makes clear than several organisations are responsible for Ireland’s steady rise as a study destination, and Levant will continue to work with them to ensure the relationship remains strong.

“MEI has helped Ireland to become a good destination for language students… But the awareness of it is something we have to work on. We will continue to work with Enterprise Ireland to see if there is more we can do to promote Ireland as a destination,” Mitchell told The PIE News.

In the UK, UniQuest has developed a white label service to boost onshore university enrolment, while Study Group has begun offering white labelled enquiry conversion in partnership with THE’s university rankings.

Visitors to DIFC’s website from Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan will be referred to the Istanbul Regional Office, which is outsourced to Levant Education.

DIFC’s HERO in Istanbul has also begun to build an agent network, training counsellors on product and visa matters, and promoting study in Ireland.

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