The International Women’s Day theme for 2023 is #EmbraceEquity. Equity is about access to opportunities. Our workforce is scattered across the globe and indeed the very nature of our services is educating international students to give them that pedestal to the next opportunity. We commit to standing against systemic barriers and biases – it’s an ever changing landscape to operate in, but we recognise the need to keep educating ourselves around these important topics, and we endeavour to keep working towards equity in the workplace. Our aim is to ensure everyone, all staff and students, can succeed, thrive and progress at Malvern whatever their starting point.
On this day, we recognise all the women who work for us, and the individual journeys they’ve been on to enable our workforce to be where it is today. We take inspiration from each and every one of our colleagues. Here we highlight three of those role models.
Sophie McAllister, Centre Manager of Malvern House Brighton
“I graduated from Liverpool university with a BA in Politics in 2001, and then almost immediately did my CELTA to become an English language teacher. I taught in Italy for 10 years, returning home in the summer to work in junior summer schools; first as a teacher, then in academic manager and welfare manager positions. I came back to the UK and continued teaching, while taking my DELTA qualification with a specialisation in ELT Management. I worked as a Centre Manager on summer family courses during that time, and then when the opportunity arose I became the UK Operations Manager for the Juniors department. For a period of time during covid I worked in student residence management, before moving back into the ELT world as Student Services Manager and now the Centre Manager at Malvern House Brighton.
I am proud that after 15 years of teaching and over 20 years in the ELT industry, I have played a small part in hundreds of people being able to get better jobs, attend a university they aspired for, or move to the country they dreamed of because of an improved level of English! I am also very proud of having worked as part of extremely strong and effective all-female management teams in the past. I am passionate about women getting equal access to opportunities and development in their professional lives, and I volunteer with The Girls’ Network, a charity focusing on providing female mentors to secondary school girls to help inspire and empower them to achieve.”
Ashleigh Veres, Director of Student Recruitment
“My journey so far has been an interesting one; one where I strive to continuously drive positive results through tenacity and grit. Since arriving in the UK almost 20 years ago, I have always seen this country as a place where there is great opportunity, if you are willing to go out and earn it. With a positive approach, I’ve carved out an amazing career, where I can work with likeminded people both at Malvern International and our university partners.
Arriving in the UK with not much more than a couple bags and no connections, I learnt quickly that opportunity isn’t handed to you; opportunity is earned through consistently delivering beyond people’s expectations. Throughout my time in the UK, I’ve worked in a variety of roles starting in commercial recruitment before moving into the world of higher education (and international student recruitment and marketing) which built my skillsets and enabled me to work with people of all backgrounds with empathy, and a shared love of achievement.
For me, being target driven doesn’t end at work, outside work I continually challenge myself. Since arriving in the UK, I’ve earned a first class degree, and completed many professional qualifications all whilst working full time in highly competitive environments.
My advice is simple: it’s all in your own hands. So go out there, think positively, and more importantly open your own doors; waiting for others will only result in disappointment.”
Andreia Areal, Academic Director UEL International Study Centre
“My journey to our UEL International Study Centre has taken many twists and turns. I was the first in my family to go to University. My first degree was in law but I quickly realised that it was not the career for me and I decided to move to the UK. After completing my MBA, I travelled to India where my first job was as a lecturer at a local management institute that partnered with a UK university. This is when I discovered my passion for education and, in particular, the power education has to transform lives.
Upon returning to the UK, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching students from all backgrounds and I believe that education can provide opportunities that can change lives. I’m very proud of every student that I had the pleasure to teach, comfort, or help in my various roles, and in particular the many examples of students I have had the privilege to teach who against all odds, persevered with their studies and are now on fantastic career paths. Throughout my own journey I’ve been fortunate to be inspired by my colleagues, and I continue to be so, every day, in my role at the ISC.”