Message from Lawrie Green, Chairman
What’s this? A new message from the Chairman on PFL website shock!
Hello everyone. I plead guilty as charged and stand condemned in front of you all. Actually, the main reason for my silence was the fact that this year has been an incredibly important one for the company’s internal systems consolidation and whilst that is a very important and creditable way to spend one’s time, it is hardly very news-worthy to our wider public. Now however, I find that there is a lot to catch up on so I had better get started!
Let me start on a personal note. In January 2012, my wife and I moved to Dubai, UAE and we have been busy settling in to the lifestyle here. So far so good – we have thoroughly enjoyed it. This move has paved the way for PFL’s new Head Office to be set-up in Dubai by early 2013. We hope to have the doors open to the public on our new set-up in Dubai by February of next year and I am delighted to announce that Mrs Rabia Bilal, formerly our Swansea University representative in Lahore, Pakistan has now agreed to rejoin us in her new role of Area Manager, UAE. Rabia will commence her new duties in Dubai on December 1st 2012 and will no doubt have an active role in the setting up of our office as well as the recruitment of students from it thereafter. We will be joined in March 2013 by the Group Finance Director, Mr Kashif Rizwan and the Group Finance Manager, Mr Shahkar Iqbal. I am very much looking forward to having this great team around me!
On the administration front, we are now reaching the end game of establishing our CRM database across the company. Final staff training is currently being completed and Beta testing should be completed by the end of the first quarter of next year. This system has been 5 years in the development and I am really excited to have it so close to being a part of our service to students and partners alike. Once fully operational, our institutional partners will be able to view the progress of all their PFL student applications through our CRM and individual students will also be able to see their application/s progress at the press of a button. We are extremely confident that this system will be seen as cutting edge in the industry and is a tool that we as a company see as being at the heart of all of our plans moving forwards.
We have had one or two significant management changes in the past few months. In August, I took the decision to remove the CEO from post and I have now (at least for the immediate future) decided to do away with this management role altogether. We wish Hersha all the very best for her future and thank her for her efforts and contributions in her two years with PFL. Coming the other way, Mr Andrew Coyle joined PFL in October 2012 as Recruitment Manager. Andrew has an extensive amount of international education experience in both the UK and Australia and is a brilliant addition to our team. Andrew has several key functions to perform for us: He will be responsible for the successful organisation and management delivery of PFL’s overseas exhibitions; Andrew will be assisting Mr Chris Price (now our Sales and Marketing Director) with overseas staff training and also be involved in assisting Mr Matthew Hornshaw (UK Divisional Director)with UK client liaison; Andrew will be visiting our ‘sending’ markets on a regular basis and will meet with students and parents on a one-to-one basis to give his expert view on their best interests. If you are a student or a sponsor reading this in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya or Pakistan, please ask a local PFL office when Andrew is next in your area. He will want to see you and I know he has a full tour planned for later this month. Don’t worry if you miss Andrew this time around – he will be back in these same countries in early 2013 but you really need to get to see him. Such experience and expertise is not to be missed for such an important decision as to where to go for further studies!
On a further management note, please add your congratulations to mine by saying well done to Mr Haris Shams, formerly PFL’s Director of Pakistan who has now become PFL’s Director of Operations and now has full management responsibility for all of PFL’s offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Pakistan. Also congratulations go to Mr Usman Durrani who was subsequently promoted from Area Manager (North) in Pakistan to Regional Manager, Pakistan.
Going back to the topic of PFL exhibitions. In September 2012 PFL had its first cross-divisional exhibition in Africa. Partners from the UK, USA, Canada and Australia did events with PFL in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana and these were popular with our students. As a result, we now plan to do at least 3 (and possibly 4) similar events in 2013. The first of these is in April 2013 and dates for this event should be available in the very near future. The second will be in June 2013, with the third in September 2013. It is possible that we shall also do an event in November 2013 but this is yet to be confirmed. One thing is for sure, Andrew is already a very busy man and it is going to get busier for him! The first part of the September exhibition was in Nairobi, Kenya and marked the official launch of PFL’s new office there. Mr Victor Rajeevan (Australasia Divisional Director) and Mr Matthew Hornshaw (UK Divisional Director) were there to host the event with our exhibition partners in attendance. The event was well attended and a good time was had by all it seems.
Also on the theme of exhibitions, PFL had its first dedicated Australia exhibition in Pakistan in July 2012. I would like to thank His Excellency Mr Peter Hayward and his wife for personally attending our event and giving PFL such honor. The same message applies to all of the other Australian High Commission staff who came to support the event – as well as our dear friends and colleagues at Austrade who also took time out of their busy schedules to support us. The support is very much appreciated everyone, many thanks. More than 800 students attended our event in Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi and it certainly seemed to go down well!
Also in October, the entire PFL Senior Management Team met in Dubai for a series of meetings over four days. These meetings were extremely positive and constructive and set out our road plan for 2013 in large part. We plan to meet again in March 2013, when we will also be filming a new PFL video about why PFL is a little bit different to some of our competitors. Seven of our managers will be filmed (including myself which is bad luck on our viewers!) and footage shown of some of PFL’s offices and staff in action. Watch out for this film from April 2013 onwards! Chris Price has already done one such film and if you haven’t seen it yet and want to take a peak, here it is.
PFL has recently seen some more very important new client partnerships. In the USA, PFL is proud to announce that we are now official partners of:
- Drexel University, Philadelphia
- Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi Campus; and
- University of Michigan, Flint Campus.
In Australia, PFL is proud to announce a new partnership with Monash University. Monash is one of the famous Australian Group of 8 institutions and we welcome all of our new partners from around the world who have joined the PFL success story recently. PFL also wishes to extend thanks to all of its loyal and long-established partners and we acknowledge that without you, I wouldn’t be sat here writing this piece today.
PFL’s Australasia Division has been having a busy time of it. Also in the news from Victor’s region:
The New Zealand consulate in Dubai recently conducted an Agent Training Session for highly commended agents. This was attended by Ms Zohra Omar (Karachi DHA Branch Manager, Pakistan team). In September, The University of Canberra had a familiarisation training session for recruitment partners and PFL’s Mr Ekunola Adeyemi (Branch Manager, Ibadan, Nigeria team) attended this session. Mr Victor Rajeevan himself attended the Australian International Education Conference in Melbourne in October and still had time to host a reception for partners during the event! All these events were appreciated by PFL staff and partners in equal measure and my thanks to PFL colleagues who took part in these.
I would also like to proudly announce the inaugural winners of PFL’s Staff of the Year Award, 2012. Ten members of staff will be invited to join my wife and I in Dubai in February 2013 for a few days of Rest and Relaxation as just reward for being acknowledged as one of the top performing staff members in our teams from Pakistan (4 staff) Ghana (1 staff) Kenya (1 staff) and Nigeria (5 staff). Each member of the team selected will be given AED 3000 spending money and will each receive a trophy, a framed certificate and a photo with myself and my wife and hopefully go away with some lovely memories of days spent in the pleasant weather of Dubai in February. Here is the list of winners for 2012, with job designations and country/office of origin:
|ABIODUN MOSES||BRANCH MANAGER||IKEJA, NIGERIA|
|BOLANLE OBADINA||RECRUITMENT OFFICER||IKEJA, NIGERIA|
|JOHN IYEKOWA||SUNDERLAND REP||VICTORIA ISLAND, NIGERIA|
|CHIKA IKE||FRONT DESK EXECUTIVE||ABUJA, NIGERIA|
|BOLANLE FOLORUNSHO||EVENTS COORDINATOR||IKEJA , NIGERIA|
|KEZIAH WAIGANJO||SENIOR RECRUITMENT OFFICER||NAIROBI, KENYA|
|YEILDAH ESSEL||SENIOR RECRUITMENT OFFICER||ACCRA, GHANA|
|SAMIA IKRAM||BRANCH MANAGER||KARACHI, PAKISTAN|
|MARIAM QURESHI||BRANCH MANAGER||ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN|
|FARAH KHAN||RECRUITMENT OFFICER||LAHORE, PAKISTAN|
|ABEERA KHAWAJA||BRANCH MANAGER||LAHORE, PAKISTAN|
At PFL, we have always sought where possible to give back to communities. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to announce that from January 2013, PFL is entering in to an agreement with Derby County Football Club and the University of Derby to give practical, on-the-ground support to schools in Kenya who are giving education to under-privileged children. We are looking to support in as many areas as we can – from providing a base in our Nairobi office for teacher-training, to assisting with providing fresh water and electricity supplies and giving text books and other learning support materials. PFL has a big heart for education and education is a precious thing for all, not just a lucky few. Once this scheme has been successfully piloted, PFL will be glad to consider extending this social programme with our partners to other PFL based countries. PFL – Preparation For Life.
My final entry for this long over-due but now quite lengthy Chairman Update is the hot off the press news that on November 8th 2012, PFL exclusively sponsored the Westminster International Education Forum, London. This event had dignitaries and guests from the Home Office, UKBA, Universities UK and a host of attendees from the UK Higher Education sector and UK education press. Matthew Hornshaw of PFL had a slot to express PFL’s views on the issues within the UK International Education Sector. I am sure that you will agree that the fact that PFL was invited to be the exclusive sponsor of such an important and all-encompassing event shows how well regarded PFL is within the industry sector. If professional credibility is important for you then choosing PFL as your professional guide to international study opportunities should be a very good first move.
Until next time, have a fine end to your year and join us in looking optimistically at the prospects for a super 2013.
Chairman, PFL Group International Ltd