.

Aspects meets Aston’s new International Officers

Simon Foster with Josephine Ecklu (a stand assistant from the British Council in Accra)
Simon Foster with Josephine Ecklu (a stand assistant from the British Council in Accra)

At the start of 2012 two new International Officers joined the International Office at Aston. Aspects caught up with Jess Wood and Simon Foster to discuss their new International Officer roles.

Jess started working at Aston over seven years ago when she joined the Schools and Colleges Liaison Team (SCL). Jess explains: “I have always been heavily involved with promoting the University at higher education exhibitions and I have been able to gain a fantastic knowledge of the UCAS system. My knowledge of student recruitment meant that I was given a six month secondment to cover South East Asia for the International Office in 2009 and loved every minute. When a full time position became available, I jumped at the chance to apply.”

Jess Wood (third from left) with Dr Trevor Oliver (EAS) at an international recruitment event with Aston alumni
Jess Wood (third from left) with Dr Trevor Oliver (EAS) at an international recruitment event with Aston alumni

As a former Aston student, Jess believes her inside knowledge of actually studying here has really given her an advantage. “We often use international alumni to assist us on the stands we have at International Fairs and this goes down extremely well with potential students as they really trust what they are saying. I’m also able to speak honestly about my student days at Aston and potential students really appreciate this.”

Simon Foster will be well known to most from his time as Marketing Officer for Sport Aston. Whilst working for Sport Aston Simon assisted the SCL team by helping with recruitment fairs. “I really enjoyed these opportunities and loved meeting potential students and promoting the whole of Aston University. It was something I was keen to do more of. When I heard this role was being advertised I knew this was my chance to try something new.

“A typical day for me in my new role involves attending British Council student recruitment exhibitions, having meetings with International Agents, conducting training with Agents, giving interviews to local media, visiting Schools and giving talks on the benefits of studying at Aston University and in the UK full stop. It’s pretty full on and international trips can be exhausting but they’re very rewarding too” says Simon.

It’s Jess and Simon’s job to research and target new markets, create opportunities for international students to study in the UK and develop relationships with international schools, universities and agents. Jess is responsible for India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and UK international students while Simon looks after Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Botswana) and Saudi Arabia.

Going forward the pair will be working with all four Schools of Study to explore opportunities, develop markets and maximise international student recruitment.

Find out more about the role of the International Office and how the team can help you.

To contact Jess, please call ext 4464 or email j.l.wood@aston.ac.uk.

To contact Simon, please call ext 4469 or email s.j.foster1@aston.ac.uk

Words by Simi Adesina and Louise Russell
26 March 2012

Your comments