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Seeking Partners for ESL at Sea Program

 
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Do you think an ESL at Sea program would be popular?
yes, definitely.
50%
 50%  [ 2 ]
probably.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
maybe, depends on cost.
50%
 50%  [ 2 ]
probably not.
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 4

Author Message
Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2006 3:40 am    Post subject: Seeking Partners for ESL at Sea Program Reply with quote

I am exploring the possibility of establishing an at-Sea ESL program. Startup costs would be fairly low and non-ESL yacht charters would help pay for initial investment and provide ongoing income.

We have access to a 110' classic Motor Yacht (actually the boat from the film "Some like it hot"). Startup costs would be refit of the interior of the vessel which is mechanically sound and seaworthy.

ESL instructors would double as crew for the boat, keeping costs low. Ideal situation would be to offer 7-10 day ESL immersion cruises. Easy setup for crusing along the Caribbean and gulf coasts of Mexico. Ability to offer business professionals (individuals or teams from one company) the opportunity to develop language skills while cruising in the style and elegance of yachting's heyday.

Could easily offer all-inclusive package including deep-sea fishing, coastal exploration, and cultural excursions at very little cost.

Would consider individual investors, timeshare agents, or alliances with existing English schools wishing to offer an additional service to their clients.

Please contact me with any questions (or post comments here). I'd also appreciate any input from anyone out there.

Thank you,

Andres Ward

ward@lexiconbusiness.com
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Lee Hobbs
Site Admin


Joined: 08 Dec 2005
Posts: 141
Location: TheGulfCoast

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 7:43 pm    Post subject: Partner as in Financial Backer? Reply with quote

Lexicon wrote:
ESL instructors would double as crew for the boat, keeping costs low.


Andres,

First of all, this idea sounds fascinating. That's my opinion.

Second, I'll address the item that I quoted from your post:

When you say you want to keep costs low, am I assuming the salaries for the staff would be low too? Maybe I'm asking this on behalf of others who are reading this but are too afraid to ask: Please explain what doubling duties as boat crew means in real terms: 8 hour days? Longer? Swabbing decks or cooking food?

Sounds like you might need to hire ESL teachers with various occupational abilities (lifeguard trained, for instance?).

Other than that, sounds like liability insurance might be a big part of your overhead, especially if this is going to appeal only to those of a certain economic class. Maybe you'll offer some scholarships as incentive / promotions?

I know that some cruise ships give free tickets to distinguished lecturers who agree to "speak" during various times at sea. You might look at that option too for avoiding salaries, especially if these are 7 day deals.

Good luck and let us know what develops,

Lee
http://www.english-blog.com

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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, this is definitely a niche market. The prospective student would be a professional (upper management or executive type) with either personal disposable income or a company willing to pay a decent price for their training.

Other perspective clients would be groups or teams preparing for a trip abroad who require a crash course in their field. Or, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals who may be interested in seeking employment in an English-speaking country and need to provide a practical side to their university training.

Basically, these guys have some money to spend, and would rather fork out some cash for a quality product, than waste their time (which is probably more valuable to them than a few bucks) on an inefficient course.

When it actually comes to cost there are two things to look at. 1, the cost of a semi-private cruise / fishing trip/ charter can be anywhere from 800-10000. 2. Most of the othr executive immersion courses out there already cost between $1000 and 5000. And that's for a course that requires them to travel to say London, only offers half a days class time, doesn't guarantee a truely immersive environment and provides no additional entertainment options.

So, the ESL at sea program could easily charge anywhere from $2000-3000 each for the 7-10 day packages. Since there would probably be between 10-14 students per cruise, the income for a single session would be high.

Now as for Employees and pay.

When I said keep costs low, I meant in contrast to 1. other charter businesses, 2. traditional ESL schools, & 3. meaning not to waste money when duplication is possible.

Now a couple of things to point out:

1. This is a Motor Yach, not a sail boat. Other than regular maintanence and occasional steering adjustments, there really isn't much to running it. With modern Nav controls and GPS, its really similar to driving a car (just a much bigger road). So this isn't like the sailing adventures where the crew and students work their asses off all day. This layout is much more like a floating mini-resort, that can move around the place.

2. There are a couple of jobs which would not be suited to splitting duties with teaching. Those are ship's Chef, and Engineer / Maintenance. The cook is really the only position that has to be up early everyday. And, with proper planning he only has to be up ahead of he passengers by an hour or so. And definitely, if I had to choose between being at sea with a decent ESL teacher or really good diesel mechanic, I'm chosing the mechanic. Plus, I wouldn't want my ESL instructors turning down bedsheets and cleaning toilets.

3. When I say Instructors doubling as crew, I mean that in addition to running training sessions, they may be in charge of taking the passengers snorkelling, or setting up for fishing, taking a turn at the helm, or spending an hour at the bar mixing cocktails and chatting with the students.


I was thinking about how this whole set up would have to work. I did realize a few things. First, you'd have to make sure the staff was all CPR, First Aid certified. I'm a certified Red Cross trainer, so that's easy. We'd need to find an ESL instructor that was scuba certified, or willing to be (should be easy enough).

Now, how it would have to work. We'd have to find a home base. If I had to just pick one out of my hat, I'd probably say Galveston, Texas. Being adjacent to Houston (America's 4th Largest City) it has everything you could need as a resident. Plus, with two major international airports, it would be an easy destination for international clients. Finally, Galveston is a great (and fairly cheap) resort town, with available waterfront and marina access directly to the open sea).

The home base would provide the following:

1. A place to maintain the vessel and store equipment and supplies.
2. a Land home for the teachers and crew.
3. an orientation site for clients.

Ideally we would rent a house big enough for our teachers to live in, provide an office, and storage space. We could use one of the local hotels for orientation. It would give the students a place to spend the night after their flights, a chance to meet each other, and mingle a bit (good nightlife), and a chance for us to teach them about yacht safety before going on board.

One thing I have never liked about a lot of jobs I've had is getting the feeling like you're never not at work. I think it is really important for teachers and staff to feel like their job gives them a rewarding work experience but also that they have time to enjoy their surroundings and pay when they're not at work.

Teachers would all have free housing at the home base. They would also have crew quarters on board. When a class is in session, they would work some fairly long days (even if part of those days are spent lying on a beach somewhere). But when they're in home port they'd be off, completely off.

So a teacher may work for 7-14 days straight preparing and conducting a class. But then they'd have an equal amount of time off. If they want to stay home and enjoy themselves, they could. Or if they wanted to load up and fly home they could. Or, if we had an additional charter available, they could volunteer to go out as crew on that, earn more cash, and spend their off time relaxing on board.

That said, the pay would be pretty decent. It wouldn't be super, but it would definitely be better than the vast majority of ESL jobs. I would hope it would be at least $1000-2000 per month. And, since when you're out at sea every meal, beer, and pina colada is provided free, it should go far. By US standards (non ESL US standards) it's not so high, but when you think about the nature of the job, it's pretty damn sweet.

OK, so there's a marathon email, but I hope it answers some questions. Please if you're even the slightest bit interested in this idea, chime in. I'm looking for input.

As far as I can tell this has never been attempted, so planning is going to be a learning process.

Thanks again,

Andres
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janina



Joined: 01 Oct 2007
Posts: 1
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: ESL on the water Reply with quote

Wow, what an amazing idea.
I'm a Red Cross swim instructor and CELTA graduate, need a teacher?

Keep us posted on how it goes.
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MacTeri



Joined: 24 Apr 2009
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Definitely that would be an awesome idea.
Even though I was already checking out some executive job in the UK I still didn't make any decision yet.
I would be interested!
So I'm sure there would be many others as well Smile
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Elizabeth



Joined: 28 Sep 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Floating ESL Classes At Sea Reply with quote

{quote="Elizabeth"} I love to be at sea and would definitely enjoy teaching ESL on a ship! Have you run the figures? E.G. how many students can you run through on a cruise vs the cost to run the cruise?


Lexicon wrote:
Yeah, this is definitely a niche market. The prospective student would be a professional (upper management or executive type) with either personal disposable income or a company willing to pay a decent price for their training.

Other perspective clients would be groups or teams preparing for a trip abroad who require a crash course in their field. Or, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals who may be interested in seeking employment in an English-speaking country and need to provide a practical side to their university training.

Basically, these guys have some money to spend, and would rather fork out some cash for a quality product, than waste their time (which is probably more valuable to them than a few bucks) on an inefficient course.

When it actually comes to cost there are two things to look at. 1, the cost of a semi-private cruise / fishing trip/ charter can be anywhere from 800-10000. 2. Most of the othr executive immersion courses out there already cost between $1000 and 5000. And that's for a course that requires them to travel to say London, only offers half a days class time, doesn't guarantee a truely immersive environment and provides no additional entertainment options.

So, the ESL at sea program could easily charge anywhere from $2000-3000 each for the 7-10 day packages. Since there would probably be between 10-14 students per cruise, the income for a single session would be high.

Now as for Employees and pay.

When I said keep costs low, I meant in contrast to 1. other charter businesses, 2. traditional ESL schools, & 3. meaning not to waste money when duplication is possible.

Now a couple of things to point out:

1. This is a Motor Yach, not a sail boat. Other than regular maintanence and occasional steering adjustments, there really isn't much to running it. With modern Nav controls and GPS, its really similar to driving a car (just a much bigger road). So this isn't like the sailing adventures where the crew and students work their asses off all day. This layout is much more like a floating mini-resort, that can move around the place.

2. There are a couple of jobs which would not be suited to splitting duties with teaching. Those are ship's Chef, and Engineer / Maintenance. The cook is really the only position that has to be up early everyday. And, with proper planning he only has to be up ahead of he passengers by an hour or so. And definitely, if I had to choose between being at sea with a decent ESL teacher or really good diesel mechanic, I'm chosing the mechanic. Plus, I wouldn't want my ESL instructors turning down bedsheets and cleaning toilets.

3. When I say Instructors doubling as crew, I mean that in addition to running training sessions, they may be in charge of taking the passengers snorkelling, or setting up for fishing, taking a turn at the helm, or spending an hour at the bar mixing cocktails and chatting with the students.


I was thinking about how this whole set up would have to work. I did realize a few things. First, you'd have to make sure the staff was all CPR, First Aid certified. I'm a certified Red Cross trainer, so that's easy. We'd need to find an ESL instructor that was scuba certified, or willing to be (should be easy enough).

Now, how it would have to work. We'd have to find a home base. If I had to just pick one out of my hat, I'd probably say Galveston, Texas. Being adjacent to Houston (America's 4th Largest City) it has everything you could need as a resident. Plus, with two major international airports, it would be an easy destination for international clients. Finally, Galveston is a great (and fairly cheap) resort town, with available waterfront and marina access directly to the open sea).

The home base would provide the following:

1. A place to maintain the vessel and store equipment and supplies.
2. a Land home for the teachers and crew.
3. an orientation site for clients.

Ideally we would rent a house big enough for our teachers to live in, provide an office, and storage space. We could use one of the local hotels for orientation. It would give the students a place to spend the night after their flights, a chance to meet each other, and mingle a bit (good nightlife), and a chance for us to teach them about yacht safety before going on board.

One thing I have never liked about a lot of jobs I've had is getting the feeling like you're never not at work. I think it is really important for teachers and staff to feel like their job gives them a rewarding work experience but also that they have time to enjoy their surroundings and pay when they're not at work.

Teachers would all have free housing at the home base. They would also have crew quarters on board. When a class is in session, they would work some fairly long days (even if part of those days are spent lying on a beach somewhere). But when they're in home port they'd be off, completely off.

So a teacher may work for 7-14 days straight preparing and conducting a class. But then they'd have an equal amount of time off. If they want to stay home and enjoy themselves, they could. Or if they wanted to load up and fly home they could. Or, if we had an additional charter available, they could volunteer to go out as crew on that, earn more cash, and spend their off time relaxing on board.

That said, the pay would be pretty decent. It wouldn't be super, but it would definitely be better than the vast majority of ESL jobs. I would hope it would be at least $1000-2000 per month. And, since when you're out at sea every meal, beer, and pina colada is provided free, it should go far. By US standards (non ESL US standards) it's not so high, but when you think about the nature of the job, it's pretty damn sweet.

OK, so there's a marathon email, but I hope it answers some questions. Please if you're even the slightest bit interested in this idea, chime in. I'm looking for input.

As far as I can tell this has never been attempted, so planning is going to be a learning process.

Thanks again,

Andres
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Lexicon



Joined: 11 Sep 2006
Posts: 153
Location: New Orleans

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The economy kinda happened!

It could work, and the idea is still viable, but probably wouldn't work for another couple of years until the training market picks up.
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