A Cardiff-based English-language academy is celebrating record growth since announcing two new directors for the business.
Celtic English Academy, headquartered in central Cardiff, reached £2.5m turnover last year with the business growing to employ 51 staff across three sites in the Welsh capital as well as offices in Spain and Russia.
Heading up the business are directors Shoko Doherty and Christina Thatcher; two former international students who came to Cardiff over ten years ago in order to study.
Speaking of her journey, Mrs Doherty, originally from Japan, said: “I first came to Cardiff over 14 years ago to study at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. I instantly fell in love with Wales and Cardiff and I’ve been here ever since, making the city my home for my Welsh husband and I, along with our young children.
“Since coming on board at Celtic English Academy, I have been made aware of Cardiff’s huge potential when it comes to international students and the hugely positive economic impact they can have across the whole of Wales. Whilst we are running a business, we are also fast-becoming a gateway of learning to those students from across the world who wish to better their English and experience life in the UK as a student.”
Mrs Doherty, who also sits on the board of English UK, spoke of the success of the business despite the economic and political challenges: “Over the last few years, we have focused our efforts on creating a positive, nurturing environment that welcomes people from all walks of life.
“We promote what Cardiff and Wales have to offer across the whole world to students who have much to offer us in return. We should be doing all we can to encourage international students to come and study here.
“Not only does this provide cultural benefits, but more importantly, we can reap economic rewards. From private landlords to restaurants to tourist attractions; international students spend money and return to their countries as brand advocates of Cardiff and Wales, increasing the likelihood of return visits.”
Recently, Mrs Doherty, supported by the Welsh Government, has played a key role in developing a strategic partnership between Wales and Japan which involves close collaboration between education, tourism and culture sectors to promote Wales as a destination of choice.
Celtic English Academy caters for students from over 50 countries, with 70 percent coming from outside of the European Union.
Co-director Mrs Thatcher, who is originally from the USA, said: “I first came to Cardiff to study for my Master’s degree over a decade ago. Despite travelling extensively, I knew I wanted to make Cardiff my home.
“Running Celtic English Academy alongside Shoko has been a fantastic learning experience as we grow the business and continue to expand. This year, we have our sights set on expanding within Wales as well as growing our support staff at our two overseas offices.
“Whilst there may be challenges ahead of us, there is no reason why we can’t continue to fly the flag for Wales and make our voices heard. We want to bring even more students from across the world to Cardiff to showcase what our fantastic city can do for those looking to learn.”