Celtic English Academy (CEA), Cardiff, Wales, UK, is the first private sector company and first SME organisation in Wales, UK, to be awarded a Gold Standard FairPlay Employer Award by the inclusive working experts in the FairPlay Employer Team at Chwarae Teg.
ELT (English Language Teaching) has been one of the hardest hit sectors in the Covid-19 pandemic. Each year, UK ELT brings £1.4billion to the UK economy when 550,000 students, of all ages, come to the UK as educational visitors. As with tourism, international travel restrictions have had a devastating impact. The UK ELT sector is still in a state of survival at this stage, let alone recovery, despite the cautiously optimistic travel sector.
Andrew Campbell, Chair of the Wales Tourism Alliance states: “The pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard and especially for study travel organisations like CEA, who usually welcome international visitors from over 50 different nationalities a year. Achieving the award is a clear example of how valuable an organisation like CEA is – Wales and UK-wide educational tourism generates significant economic spend for local visitor economies, as well as promoting greater cultural understanding between nations and future opportunities”
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Covid crisis, Celtic English Academy’s Gold Award symbolises the Academy’s strengths in resiliency, adaptation and forward-thinking. Over the past 3 years, working with Chwarae Teg experts, they have actively; improved unconscious bias, recruitment and selection, gender pay gap, family friendly policies, and fostered a more inclusive working environment.
Then, harnessing opportunity in the face of crisis, CEA paved the way to further sustainable change over 2020-2021 by implementing agile working, improving internal communications and digitisation to enable increased productivity, better working relationships for all and enhancing work-life balance.
Shoko Doherty, Chief Executive Officer, Celtic English Academy, and Vice Chair, English UK expresses: “We have worked hard to achieve the Gold standard FairPlay Employer award by improving our HR and organisational culture over recent years and evidencing our solid commitment to fairness, inclusivity, wellbeing, and workplace flexibility. The award comes from an anonymous staff survey, and benchmarking, so I am humbled and honoured by the genuine feedback this brings that is testimony to our workplace”
ELT is an industry with great diversity. A language school is a microcosm of the world where people from a variety of backgrounds meet and learn together - not just language, but acquiring a better understanding of one another’s cultures, behaviours, customs, or religions.
Shoko adds: “In ELT we all have a responsibility towards diversity and inclusion. We have made it a priority and we hope our journey can inspire others. Even with the Gold Award, we know we can continue to go further still to building a brighter, fairer and more sustainable tomorrow”
As an independent, Welsh organisation, working internationally, the Academy has been growing since it was established in 2004. James Doherty, Owner, Celtic English Academy has long held the motto of “quality, consistency and fairness for all”. He has always valued creating a workplace that takes care of its staff, who in turn take care of Celtic’s customers – from students and their parents, to educational tour operators and partners, homestay hosts and suppliers.
Keith M Dunn OBE, President of the Consular Association in Wales and Honorary Consul for Japan in Wales said: “I have seen first-hand the difference that Celtic English Academy, and the UK ELT sector, makes to students’ lives. What they do is highly valuable in our globalised world of today and this award proves what a successful organisation they are. I offer my warmest congratulations”
Stephanie Griffiths, Commercial Director, Chwarae Teg, said: “I must congratulate everyone at Celtic English Academy. To achieve a Gold Award the client needs to be of a very high standard and their staff must also believe in those standards and really live and breathe the culture across the business. It’s testament to their dedication that they have also become a finalist in the FairPlay Employer category at the Chwarae Teg Womenspire Awards 2021.
“Future focussed employers like Celtic English Academy want to ensure their organisation provides the right environment for everyone to thrive and feel that they belong. Our FairPlay Employer service can make it happen by giving organisations and businesses a clear path to success.”
In addition, CEA was the first UK ELT centre to become a Real Living Wage Employer, joined the Welsh Government’s economic contract appraisal and holds a Wales Green Growth Pledge. They are committed to sustainability all-round.