Published on 01/10/23 – Noticia extraida de Study Travel Magazine
Pablo Martínez de Velasco, President of Spanish agency association ASEPROCE, talks about implementing a certification programme for group leaders and developing an agreement of best practices between agents and schools.
What has ASEPROCE been up to over the last 12 months?
Over the last 12 months, ASEPROCE has been actively engaged in various activities and initiatives. In the ST Alphe Secondary School Awards, ASEPROCE was shortlisted for the ST Secondary School Award Agency Association for being an active association with professional agencies.
In terms of professional development, ASEPROCE implemented a certification programme for group leaders. This initiative aims to enhance the professionalism of group leaders by providing them with specific training in areas such as conflict resolution, incident management, and specialised knowledge.
ASEPROCE also focused on quality management by initiating the 6th campaign for the NORMA ASEPROCE certification. This certification ensures the quality management systems of associated companies. They adapted the verification checklists to address new requirements, including compliance with legal regulations to monitor hiring, measuring customer satisfaction, and tracking the digital impact of NORMA ASEPROCE.
Furthermore, ASEPROCE organised the XI ASEPROCE WORKSHOP, the largest event they have hosted to date. The workshop brought together agents, educators, and service providers for networking, knowledge sharing, and panel discussions. This event provided a platform for industry professionals to exchange ideas and enhance collaboration.
During 2022, ASEPROCE welcomed 10 new member agencies, while three agencies opted to leave the association.
Alongside Languages Canada, CAPS-i and IALCA, ASEPROCE is part of an organised fam trip to visit language schools and high school in Canada this year. Can you tell us more about this joint initiative?
The joint initiative involving Languages Canada, CAPS-i, IALCA, and ASEPROCE for the fam trip to visit language schools and high schools in Canada this year was the result of collaboration and cooperation between the organisations.
The idea was proposed by Diego Sánchez from Languages Canada and Bonnie McKie from CAPS-i. They saw the potential of creating a collaborative opportunity for their respective organisations and sought to expand the initiative further. They reached out to Paolo Barilari from IALCA and Óscar Porras, who was the president of ASEPROCE at the time, to discuss the possibility of organising a fam trip together, like what they had done previously with BELTA and agents from Japan.
This fam trip created great interest and enthusiasm among the members of both ASEPROCE and IALCA. The possibility of jointly exploring language schools and high schools in Canada offers a unique and enriching experience for their members, providing insights into different educational systems and opportunities.
The fam trip has been planned to take place this month, and due to the expected high demand and limited spots, the participating organisations decided to raffle the available places among their members.
The joint initiative aims to foster cross-cultural exchange, enhance educational ties between Canada and the participating countries, and provide valuable networking opportunities for the members of Languages Canada, CAPS-i, IALCA, and ASEPROCE.
How does outbound agency business in 2023 compare to 2022 so far?
As of 2023, the outbound agency business has seen some notable differences compared to 2022. Academic year programmes in countries like the USA, Canada, Ireland, and the UK continue to be the most sought-after and popular among students. These destinations offer a wide range of educational opportunities, reputable institutions, and a favourable learning environment, which makes them consistently attractive choices for international students.
However, there have been some changes in the trends for summer programmes. In 2023, ASEPROCE members have reported a slight decline in demand. One of the main reasons behind this decline is that agents are facing challenges in finding suitable placements for their students. This difficulty in securing appropriate placements has made it more challenging for agents to offer summer programmes to their clients effectively.
In response to these emerging trends, ASEPROCE recognises the importance of adapting and working together. The organisation aims to develop an agreement of best practices between agents and schools. By establishing such an agreement, all parties involved can strengthen their positions in the industry, address the challenges faced by agents in offering summer programmes, and collectively improve the overall experience for students and clients. In conclusion, while academic year programmes in popular destinations remain strong, the decline in demand for summer programmes has sparked a need for collaboration and proactive measures within the industry. ASEPROCE’s initiative to establish an agreement of best practices reflects their commitment to finding solutions and ensuring the outbound agency business can thrive and continue to provide excellent educational opportunities for students in 2024 and beyond.
What are the main challenges members (and students) are experiencing currently?
The main challenge ASEPROCE members and students are facing currently is the lack of high-quality accommodation for international students. Students resist sharing accommodation with students of the same mother tongue to have a more immersive and diverse experience. ASEPROCE is working to address these challenges and provide a rewarding study abroad experience.
In your last interview with us you mentioned you were launching an online training programme for Group Leaders. Can you update us about this initiative?
The initiative received a fantastic response from our members, and many Group Leaders have successfully completed the course and obtained their certification. Building on the initial success of the programme, ASEPROCE is currently focused on enhancing the course format to make it even more engaging and visually appealing. This includes incorporating interactive content and elements to further enrich the learning experience and make it more attractive to the target audience. By continuously improving the training programme, ASEPROCE aims to provide Group Leaders with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to excel in their roles, ensuring the highest standards of guidance and support for students during their study abroad journeys. The commitment to ongoing improvement and innovation in the training initiative underscores ASEPROCE’s dedication to promoting professionalism and excellence within the industry.
What does the association have planned for the next year?
For the upcoming year, ASEPROCE has an exciting plan in place, driven by its newly formed board which took office in March 2023. The committee has devised a comprehensive action plan to be executed over their four-year term. One of the primary objectives, as previously mentioned, is the development of a manual of best practices that will involve all stakeholders in the sector.
The manual of best practices aims to establish clear guidelines and standards for all parties involved in the study abroad industry. By defining and implementing these best practices, ASEPROCE seeks to enhance the overall quality of services offered by its members, ensuring a consistent and high standard of educational experiences for students.
Additionally, the association has taken the initiative to establish several working groups to address various objectives. These groups are actively working towards continuous improvement and professionalisation of the sector. Each working group focuses on specific areas of improvement, such as accommodation, visa support, programme offerings, and communication with students and their families.
Through these strategic actions, ASEPROCE is committed to staying at the forefront of the study abroad industry, fostering innovation, and providing enhanced support to its members and the students they serve. The association’s dedication to constant improvement and collaboration with all stakeholders underscores their mission to strengthen the study abroad experience and promote the highest standards of excellence within the industry.