What has your company been up to in the past 12 months?
In February we employed our first full-time UK-based member of staff, Emily Abbott who won the BYTA for Rising Star. In June we co-founded a new international college, Bristol International College which will open in August 2020 offering international students aged 17+ the one-year University of London International Foundation Programme. We had our busiest summer ever with over 1500 students aged 8-17 across 6 different summer centres. In August we employed a new Sales Representative for Latin America. In October we reached agreement with the University of Bath to run a new University Preparation Summer Course on their campus from summer 2020.
What are the current or emerging trends within your sector?
We operate in a number of different sectors: summer camps, high school integration, university preparation, internships and cultural tours but one trend unites them all and that is a desire among students and their parents to undertake programmes that have a distinct value proposition for their future careers in education and/or in the workplace. This now influences all our product development and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
How does your role support the business?
Essentially I am the face of Experio Life, although Emily is fast becoming the new (and much fresher) face. I am responsible for marketing, student recruitment and strategic partnerships whereas Rob (my business partner) looks after the financial and administrative side of the business. Although we have been friends since childhood, we have very different skills sets and experience which complement each other for the benefit of the business.
What has been your career highlight to date?
In 2000 we took a bank loan of £20K to start the business with and in October 2001 we paid the full amount back and have never borrowed any money for the business since.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
As a newly qualified EFL teacher, I was struggling to prepare for my first class at IH Hastings in 1986 when Adrian Underhill came into the teachers’ room and said, “Tony, you don’t need all those materials…just listen to your students and listen to what your instinct tells you and just teach them!” I followed his advice for that first class and taught my best lesson. And I have followed his advice ever since by trusting myself to be able to evaluate a situation and react instinctively and it has always stood me in good stead.
Where is your favourite place to travel to?
I still love travelling even after all these years of being on the road for more time than I spend at home with my family and I have been lucky enough to visit some wonderful places but whenever I travel to Italy it is like going home. I lived there for a total of 6 years during two spells in the 1980s and early 1990s which were very important times in my own personal development and the country as a whole has a special place in my heart.
If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?
I honestly have no idea and couldn’t imagine doing anything else…apart from being a professional golfer that is!
What’s next for your company?
We are very much focussed on getting Bristol International College off the ground and establishing ourselves as one of the leading independent university pathway providers in the UK. We will continue to develop our other products in a measured way so that we can maintain our own high standards of quality and look to bring new young talent, like Emily into our great industry.
Find out more and connect with Experio Life here
Published 10 December 2019