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Kim Renner, Executive Director of English New Zealand
Kim Renner

This week, we interview Kim Renner, Executive Director of English New Zealand, about the association's activities and future growth markets.

What has English New Zealand been up to over the last 12 months?


We welcomed two new members in late 2016 and have had several enquiries in the last year. Providers need to meet the English New Zealand Standards on application and a range of other criteria before an inspection audit can be scheduled, so it's a thorough process.


Our annual calendar of events includes two member meetings per year, one of which is our AGM. It also includes a number of marketing initiatives. These may be English New Zealand-only offshore workshops, e.g. our Bangkok workshop in November, or Education New Zealand events where our members attend and are profiled under the English New Zealand banner. An inbound fam trip for European agencies took place in November as part of our market development plan.


How did your first conference and the QALEN conference go in November?


November was a busy and very successful month for us. We hosted quality assurance organisations from Australia, Canada, the UK and USA as part of the QALEN Symposium, most of whom stayed on for our highly successful inaugural conference which was attended by over 140 delegates and sponsors from New Zealand and overseas. English New Zealand is a champion of quality in ELT, and providing opportunities for industry professionals to share best practice is a critical component of our strategy.


What is the association doing to ensure sector growth continues?


2016 was a very good year with growth of approximately 20 per cent. We are not expecting the same level of growth in 2017 but it started strongly with growth in Trimester 1. Our focus continues to be on promoting the quality of our member schools, the extra TESOL-specific standards they must meet over and above NZQA/government requirements, and the experience they have in offering a high-quality experience to international students.


Our strategic plan includes greater communication with study abroad agencies in 2018, including a survey to gather information on what they need from English New Zealand and our member schools. They have significant knowledge about their market, and most of our referrals come via that channel, so we need to make sure we are working closely with agencies.


What are some of the current student trends in New Zealand's ELT sector?


Member schools have a diverse nationality mix. This has been further enhanced over the last couple of years with strong growth from Latin America and a wider range of European countries. We work together with relevant government agencies to identify markets, and for 2018 we are considering Mexico.


What work/efforts is English New Zealand currently undertaking with the government?


We will meet with the Ministers of Education and Immigration in the next two months. It is important for us to profile the additional, rigorous quality assurance standards members must meet and the uniqueness of the English language sector. It is in everyone's interests for international students to receive the best possible study abroad experience and to have the opportunity to embrace all aspects of a New Zealand experience. We will be advocating strongly for a continuation of all benefits international students enjoy as part of this experience.


What does English New Zealand have planned for 2018?


Members will join Education New Zealand events in 2018, promoting as a group rather than us organising standalone events, and we'll begin planning our 2019 conference given the success of our inaugural conference in November.


We'll be focusing on implementing our strategic plan which includes improving our brand profile and communication with study abroad agencies and associations. Our key objectives, whether in advocacy, quality assurance, marketing or membership services, are underpinned by the goal of making the English language sector sustainable in New Zealand.



Kim Renner is the Executive Director of national peak body association English New Zealand


The above interview is an unabridged version of an interview that appears in the January 2018 issue of StudyTravel Magazine