Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Anglo European Study Tours AEST Summer Schools

Another comment that appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."
WARNING to anyone who'll apply for summer work with AEST summer schools. I worked as Assistant Course director last year and it was by far the shoddiest shadiest bunch of cowboys I've come across (and in 10 years I've seen a few!). I worked in Galway, We were forced to pay £25 to receive our own wages (well overdue, needless to say) transferred into a UK bank account . I rang their bank (Coutts &Co. no less) and was told that it was NOT necessary to pay anything for a 3-day transfer: I rang the AEST head office in London to tell them this, they blatantly lied, I told them I'd just got off the phone to the bank who told me otherwise and they simply slammed the phone down on me. It would of course have been easier if teachers could have been paid in euro from AEST's Bank of Ireland account, though again they told me this didn't exist, even though at the end of the course I had to pay a company there with - surprise, surprise - a cheque from their non-existent account.
Apart from staff money problems, the kids had no books, pens, etc. Teachers resorted to buying these and paying for photocopies out of the own pockets.
There is another centre in Dublin, I finally tracked down the DoS there and if anything their situation was even worse: NOBODY got paid from the beginning to the end of the school. Half the teachers left before the end, simply giving up on the prospect of seeing any money. Regarding understaffing, in our centre the DoS ended up simply going round the pubs in the evening trying to find extra teachers (he found one, actually a qualified TEFL teacher, who lasted one day and then left in disgust).

It makes me sick that though we were treated like slaves, lied to and ignored by head office, I read the contract they had with an Italian government body, and they got 517,000 euro for the Galway centre alone. Yet didn't fork out for a photocopy budget or board markers for teachers. nice. (Anyone who doubts this can have a photocopy of the contract which I have). Yet they STILL wanted more money: they knowingly accepted more kids than they had accommodation for, even suggesting at one stage that Italian teenagers could simply sleep two to a bed (I kid you not)!

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

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Sandy Mac said...

Definitely a dodgey bunch, run by a spoilt rich kid of Italian extraction, I believe - Sr. Marra? Give them a VERY wide berth!

Anonymous said...

They are downright law flouters. I worked for them as a teacher, and I left them because there were no 'risk assessments' done for ANY trips, which are required by law. And not a single person working with the kids had been checked for CRB. Also completely illegal. Anyone working with under 18s has to be checked. Also, they crammed more students than they had room for, and no drills were done for fire. And again it's the law they should do these. If anything serious happened to a kid, then the Course Directors/Welfare Directors/ACDs would be in court so fast that their feet wouldn't touch....Mr Marra is the boss who inherited it from his father, who apparently was a nice man. I guess he's turning in his grave.

Anonymous said...

In the summer of 2006 I worked for AEST in Chelmsford. It was a total farce: 'teachers' coming and going on an almost daily basis, classrooms the size of broom cupboards, late cheques, AEST branded teaching materials riddled with spelling mistakes etc. On the positive side, the DoS was hilarious and treated the faceless management in London with the contempt they deserved. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Cockerell.

andrea said...

I have worked for AEST for 3 summers now and I have to say they have been really fantastic, as a matter of fact I recommended their company to some large companies in Spain as I had bad experience with other language providers. I think you are two isolated case.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that there is an Andrea who 'works' in their Head Office. Surely not the same person who speaks so highly of them?!
Also interesting that they aren't even British Council Accredited anymore- infer from that what you will.
I worked for them for 2 summers and they've got progressively worse.
Head Honcho S Marra doesn't give a damn about teachers, just about how much money he can squeeze out of the operation.
Wide berth indeed.