Spotlight on: Mark Cook, Trinity UK Education

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

I recently joined Trinity UK, a small provider, as MD, having spent 16 years at LAL Language Centres. That experience, learning so much from my peers, put me in good stead to carry out my new role, though there is still plenty to learn. The difference here is that the buck stops with me…until I speak to the owner! I support the business by being here to both give staff the benefit of my experience but also to listen to others who have better ideas than me. 

What has been your career highlight to date?

My highlights are made up of many examples of student and staff satisfaction from attending programmes that I have organised over the years. The summers are responsible for so many ”friends for life” moments. 

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

Never assume. People who have worked for me have heard hear this from me all the time. Apart from the well-known phrase about ass and u and me, it is so relevant in this industry, given the different cultures and language barriers…and easy to do. 

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

My handwriting would suggest being a GP but my chemistry is not so good. Before I came into the industry, I was an actor, mainly stage, regularly in pantomime and often unemployed – so I would probably still be treading the boards and finding other jobs to support that lifestyle. 

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

Unfortunately, Covid-19 is still with us so it is difficult to really ascertain how trends may have changed the sector. The past 18 months have shown us how fragile the industry can be when borders are closed. Last summer, Trinity ran domestic English camps in Italy and this is something that may well continue in the coming years – time will tell. 

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

I hope to drive the company forward and raise its profile in the industry, though specific plans are still under wraps. Will keep you posted. 

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

Constant updates when we are often distracted or busy with other aspects of the business. Being a part of BETA is new for me, so I hope to learn more about the benefits. The last networking evening brought me some contacts that were helpful. 

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? 

Never say never. Hopefully, we won’t have to experience anything like this for many years, but it has taught us all that something as tiny as a virus, along with the changing and often inconsistent way it is handled, can change everything in our lives. 

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

I believe the appetite for travel, after such a drought, will explode and we can all benefit, moving forward. That said, 2022 will still be difficult as I believe that the scars of the swift surge of the Omicron variant, will not heal for a while – parents, who willingly, and somewhat bravely, send their kids abroad under normal circumstances will be more hesitant and cautious until they feel that things have settled down. One issue will be the number of providers angling for the business which may not be as plentiful as pre-pandemic years. 

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

One serious challenge will be the current trend of costs rising beyond the usual 2% that we have been used to in the past. Increases in prices are going to be difficult to absorb in an industry that already has tight margins and passing those increases onto the end user will be challenging. 

How do you think Covid-19 will change our industry (if at all)? 

This depends on how governments handle the fallout and their respective vaccination programmes. I hope it will bring providers and partners closer together. 

Find out more about BETA Member Trinity UK Education here

Published 03 March 2022