Spotlight on: David Bridges, Ardmore Language Schools

Tell us a bit about your role and how it supports the business?

My role within Ardmore is supporting our strong sales team with excellent product delivery to our international agents. The operations process insures that our students have a fantastic experience with us from the moment they arrive into the UK to the moment they depart. It’s a challenging role dealing with a number of coach operators, attraction providers, host centres and many more, but this is where I feel that I thrive.

What has been your career highlight to date?

My personal career highlight has been restarting the business on a large scale since COVID hit in 2020. Its exactly two years in February since we were forced to close, but we have adapted and used this time to come back even stronger.  

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

“Ask a lazy person to do a difficult job, as they will find the most time effective way of getting it done!”  

If you were not working in this sector what other industry would you have pursued a career in?

I have always been told I am quite ‘regimented’ and ‘organised’ so maybe in the military or fire service.  

What are the emerging trends within your sector and have these changed since Covid-19?

I certainly feel that students (and parents) desperately want to travel again, but each country having their own guidance is stopping this process. The next generation of education will be for students that want specialist programmes such as Coding & Robotics, Future World Leaders etc.  

What is coming up for your company in the next 12/18 months?

The next year will be about bouncing back and getting back to what we do best – welcoming thousands of students each year into our fantastic locations in the UK. When we deliver a high standard of product it will breed confidence within our agents to send students back to the UK.  

As an association what one thing do you think we have done that has made a real difference to our members during the crisis?

BETA has been great at communicating to the industry and providing government updates in weekly bulletins. With guidance changing all the time, these bulletins have helped to provide a snapshot that has changed the way we work in line with the guidance. It’s been a huge help in saving time as we can process this information much quicker.  

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our industry, what is the one thing that you have learnt personally or professionally during this time?

I feel that within Ardmore we are experts in adapting to change, dealing with problems and meeting the requests of our agents. COVID has shown that we can adapt to any situation and be able to pivot the business in an ever changing world. Whether that’s launching new global products, delivering a variety of programmes in the UK or creating an educational platform from scratch.

What are your crystal ball forecasts for the period ahead and how quickly do you think your business can recover from the pandemic?

I am confident that the business is moving in the right direction (quicker than I personally expected) with positive numbers for the summer ahead. The off season business has boomed which has been a pleasant surprise to us all, enabling us to feel like this is now the start of student travel coming back online.

What would you say our biggest challenges and opportunities are as an industry currently?

The biggest challenge for many business will be getting back to what was normal before ‘covid’ three key areas are:

  • Suppliers – engaging with suppliers and renegotiating contracts.
  • Living with COVID – managing covid cases especially in summer schools.
  • Restarting a business – this takes an incredible amount of work and lots of cobwebs need to be brushed off if coming from a static position.
How do you think Covid-19 will change our industry (if at all)?

Students will have an increased hunger to travel the world, having been stuck at home for so long. This will in turn lead to a thriving culture of student travel. I feel that this can only be a benefit for our industry and with people wanting to travel more than ever.

Find out more about BETA Member Ardmore Language Schools here

Published 03 April 2022