Looking for new education agents?

Research shows that the use of education agents is on the rise.  In the key international education markets around the world more and more institutions are focusing on their agent network as an important source of new international students.

This is particularly true in the US market where the number of institutions using agents has increased significantly in recent years, and the percentage of international students in US colleges recruited by agents doubled between 2012 and 2016.

There is a lot involved in building and managing an effective education agent network.  For in-house recruiters who are just starting out implementing an agency strategy one of the first problems they encounter is how and where to find good agents.  Even universities, colleges and schools that have an agent network in place have often the same problem because they regularly need to find good agents to maintain and build a productive network.

Where can good agents be found?

If you are an in-house recruiter looking for new agents, the main requirements are usually quite simple: you want professional and ethical agents who will work proactively to promote your institution in your target markets.

From there the next stop, quite rightly, may be one of the main education agent accrediting organisations like ICEF, AIRC or QISAN. They are definitely good places to start.

But here’s a trick…look down under

 

Another really great source of high quality agents – often overlooked – is the websites of Australian universities, colleges and schools.

When it comes to education agents Australia is easily the most heavily regulated of the main international education markets.  Australian law imposes a range of obligations on institutions in the way that they work with agents, including that institutions list their education agents on their websites.

Failure to do so is a criminal offence. Seriously.

To prove I am not exaggerating, here is the relevant section of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000:

esos

A “penalty unit” is currently $180 Aussie dollars, so the maximum penalty for the offence for an Australian institution that does not list its agents on its website is $10,800.  Ok, so it might not break the bank, but nobody likes the idea of a criminal record.

Unsurprisingly then, Australian institutions take pretty darn seriously the obligation to list their education agents on their website.

It means that it is very easy to find a list of the agents that any Australian institution is working with.  All you need to do is Google: “[Name of Australian institution] agents” and nine times out of ten Google will deliver the agent list as the first result.

If you focus your searches on reputable Australian institutions you can have a high degree of confidence in the agents on the list because the institutions are also bound by a range of agent due diligence and ongoing monitoring obligations.

Want a head start?

To get you started, here is a list of the links to the education agent lists for the top ten Australian universities as ranked by Times Higher Education

  1. University of Melbourne
  2. Australian National University
  3. University of Sydney
  4. University of Queensland
  5. Monash University
  6. University of New South Wales
  7. University of Western Australia
  8. University of Adelaide
  9. University of Technology, Sydney
  10. University of Wollongong

Ok, so I have found some new education agents – now what?

There is a lot of work involved in building and managing an agent network.  The market is competitive and agents are often working with many other institutions. It is very important that you stay top of mind with your agent network.

Also, best practice requires that you are keeping agents up to date with the latest information about your institution, providing training, and monitoring agent performance.

In-house recruitment teams are stretched and need to ensure that they are managing their agents efficiently.

We’ve set out to solve that problem.

AgentBee makes it easy to do all of the day-to-day tasks of managing your agent network, automating as may of the mundane jobs as possible.

You do everything by logging in to your branded portal which we build for you.  From there you can upload new marketing and training documents and material for agents (including videos, or podcasts), and provide quick updates similar to doing a facebook post.  Any update you do is visible to agents when they log in to your portal.  Also when you do an update your agents will automatically get a branded email from your institution alerting them to the update.

All of this means you can engage with agents more frequently – so that your institution stays at the forefront of their mind – but spend a lot less time than it takes you now.

Agent monitoring is also an important part of AgentBee. There are significant risks in working with agents.  An unprofessional or dishonest agent can cause significant damage to your brand. To address that risk regular and ongoing monitoring of your agents should be a key part of your agent strategy.

AgentBee provides tools to make it easy for you to monitor agent engagement and performance.