Nazar Vlasyuk, commercial director of the international company Speak Up, spoke about the importance of English in the professional field and career development in the WorkAnuti podcast from LC Work.
What level of English will allow you to reach a salary of $ 2 000 in an international company and how to win a mini-course in specialized English – read the material or watch the new podcast.
The podcast was attended by:
Timur: Hello everyone! This is WorkAnuti, and today we will discuss how English can help you in your work and earn more.
Daria: Our guest is the commercial director of the international company Speak Up, Nazar Vlasyuk. Nazar, good afternoon, and thank you for coming to us.
Nazar: Hello everyone! It's very nice to visit you.
Timur: Let's cut straight to the chase. You have been in the market for 20 years. This is a competitive niche, have there been any interesting cases during this time that you can now tell about?
Nazar: You are absolutely right about our stay in the market. We have been in this niche for 20 years, and, of course, it is really very competitive. There are many small companies that position themselves as companies, but they do not have a special methodology, many individual tutors, or anything like that.
I will take a short digression into history. To enter the Ukrainian market and the Eastern European market in general, it was necessary to enter a competing niche with a cool product. We need to be different because if we were like the others, we would be quickly eaten up and the company would not achieve any success. Therefore, we started with the product itself and what we brought to the market.
This blended learning method is still taking over the market today. This method is the basis of the fact that we do not get involved in additional competing games with opponents, for example, because of the price, which is the most rigid. We follow our product, this is our foundation, and therefore we are out of this game.
Timur: Don't they put spokes in your wheels?
Nazar: In fact, we learn from each other: in some ways, we learn from our competitors, and in some ways we teach. But without putting additional sticks in the wheels.
Daria: 2022 has been a challenging time for business. Has your school undergone any transformations in terms of the educational process, and management in 2022? Maybe there will be some kind of transformation in 2023?
Nazar: Of course, we are all going through a crisis. It is, of course, difficult for everyone. But the period of 2020, when the whole world was experiencing covid, taught us a lot about quickly adapting to turbulent conditions.
Of course, until 2020 offline learning was more generally accepted and it was very difficult to perceive and understand online learning. Now that we have survived the Covid period, companies engaged in education, in general, are already providing their services online by 70%. And so are we. During Covid, we realized that we need to strengthen our skills in the field of online learning. This is the main transformation that occurred in 2020-2021.
And now, in 2022, the war broke out. We were, in fact, ready for this. Moreover, we are a part of a large group of school network in Europe, our Polish neighbors helped us. And we experienced this transformation quite quickly. This is mainly due to the fact that 80% of students have switched to online learning.
Daria: Speaking of online. How different is the selection of teachers for online and offline formats? I ask because I, for example, had a negative experience. Before the war, I went to school, I won't say which one. There was a super cool teacher, who explained everything in an accessible way, with whom, in two months of training, I managed to feel that there is movement. When we switched to online, it was like a completely different teacher. She doesn't have a whiteboard, she doesn't have the cards she used to communicate with, and she doesn't have any tools that she used offline.
I left this school. Because I asked them to change the teacher for me, and they said that while there are no teachers, we can offer them later. But the bottom line is that there was a very big contrast. Do you have a separate selection of offline and online teachers at your school?
Nazar: Interesting question. In fact, we have a lot of these kinds of requests from our students. Of course, here a lot depends on the teachers themselves, and on the individual.
Before that, you asked what kind of transformation awaits education or the English market, apart from online. Of course, it is the personality and the role of the teacher. The more interesting the personality of the teacher, the more the student feels that with this teacher he will succeed and achieve results. And the more interesting the personality, the faster the teacher adapts to remote lessons.
Of course, if the teacher is a virtuoso, they are creative, they will quickly adapt, and find additional tools that will help the same information that is conveyed offline through a regular whiteboard to be presented through screen sharing, additional videos, which is not always possible to achieve offline.
Therefore, in our case, to answer your question, we usually select qualified teachers. Teachers are selected during several stages, they have trial classes. Those teachers who are better at offline specialize in offline. And those teachers who feel cool online are usually experts in this field.
Timur: Does a personal brand work in education? For example, if a teacher has a well-developed brand on Instagram, other social networks may have a website. And it works much better, it converts: this particular teacher is better, and the company earns more money with this speaker. Does it work?
Nazar: Yes, it works to a certain extent, of course. Because our teachers are 50% of our product. And if the teacher is charismatic, they give themselves to the fullest, of course, this allows not only to retain old students but also to get recommendations from these students to friends and family.
We have cases when mom, dad, brother, sister, and the whole family go to our school just because they like the method. And, of course, 50% is the merit of this teacher.
Timur: On your Instagram profile, it says “Learning in the Metaverse”. I'm wondering, this is some kind of hype topic now, what kind of product is this? How did you come to this?
Nazar: Of course, there is a certain hype associated with this. After Mark Zuckerberg outlined the future of Facebook and where education is going, we also thought about the benefits: what Metaverse will bring, for example, to education.
In fact, we experienced an offline period, then something in between offline and online, and now, it is already the third degree. It is an opportunity to create a community of people who want to learn English and do it in a form of an associative game.
For example, when studying English, children have some kind of conversational topic — “Nature”, “Airport”, etc. And you are immediately thrown into the environment of the airport. You walk there and already associatively, being in the environment, perceive it.
Probably everyone knows that the best method of learning languages is the environment. And we want to additionally create it using Metaverse. We want to completely surround our student with English and association with the words he will speak.
Daria: You had a Russian department at the school. Only, if I am not mistaken, in August, you wrote that you had cut all ties with them. Why only in August? And was the school hated by students or competitors?
Nazar: To be honest, the Russian department existed. But 2-3 years ago, we explained to students who asked about this unit that it was a separate part as a whole. We don't even refer to them as Speak Up, because, in part, they didn't even use the Speak Up technique, our band itself. So, our students understood how different our products are.
We did not position ourselves as a school that had connections with the Russian division 3-4 years ago. Therefore, we did not catch the hate, but we gladly posted this fact on social networks that we have absolutely nothing to do with him.
Timur: I want to discuss this news. It happened in the Ukrainian market recently, maybe a week ago. Ukrposhta congratulated Nova Poshta, and Nova Poshta congratulated them in return. And it was so respectful, so cool.
Nazar: It was such an interesting trolling. I think it was a good level of trolling.
Timur: There seemed to be such respect in it. And people responded so well. I want to ask if you have such respect in your niche or is it mostly trolling?
Nazar: Well, of course, there is respect for companies that also work in this niche. Nobody canceled the rules, you may have heard this one, which was formulated by Sun Tzu: if you know your opponents, you will always win in a hundred conditional battles with your competitors because you know your advantages and the advantages of your opponents. If you only know yourself, you will lose half the time. And if you haven’t even learned yourself yet, you will lose every game. Of course, this is just an analogy.
Perhaps, until 2017-2018, there was a period when everyone studied with us. As I said, when we opened in 2007, it was a completely new product with a new methodology and a bunch of other competitive advantages that are not related to price – this is individual support of the teacher, what we said about the personality, how important it is to support the student and create emotions.
To answer your question, there is only respect and the opportunity to learn something new from each other. But most take an example from us, and we are the leader in terms of group English learning on the territory of Ukraine.
Timur: Did you tag (other English schools), did you write something on social networks, or did you not have it?
Nazar: There was no such level of trolling. It's a very cool, fun experience. But we are constantly learning from each other.
Daria: With what requests do people mostly come to you? Do they need English for work, for travel, just because they want to have an English level like a cool girlfriend, or it is family motivated? What is the most common request?
Nazar: Everything is very diverse. Sometimes there are very strange, unusual requests, but they are also the goals of our students.
First of all, a large percentage of people come precisely because there are new opportunities in terms of career growth, in general, the opportunity to find a job, especially in our realities of 2022. Opportunity to participate in the global world, global business. English is the language of business, the language of the world. If you want to be successful in your work, and in your niche, of course, you must know it. Therefore, 50% of requests are for promotion in work, for passing interviews, and for obtaining certificates for the same job.
Probably, 50% of the rest is training, students, and communication. Requests when a person wants to have an English level higher than that of a friend also happen. Sometimes, students want to get married. Communication with relatives living in other countries is the other common request.
In general, there are a lot of interesting and even amazing stories. Recently, there was a request from a student who said: “I need a teacher who will travel with me around the world and give lessons twice a week. Can you provide such a teacher who will travel to Europe and Asia and will always be by my side?” Well, we don't have that level of service yet, but perhaps in the future, we will.
Timur: You seem to have some kind of trips that you go on in groups, though.
Nazar: Yes, we have this kind of service. This direction was now slowed down a bit due to Covid and the war. We sent groups of our children and adults for 2-3 weeks to countries, where English is 90% native to the population. These countries included Great Britain, Malta, Canada, and America. We have this direction.
Daria: I want to note that Nazar said that the students mostly ask for English in order to advance in their careers. Within the niche of gambling, IT, there is indeed a tendency that the salary of an experienced person with a good level of English and the wage of one who does not have this skill to be two times different. Therefore, you can visit our site logincasino.work, look for vacancies related to IT, gambling, and digital, and Nazar and I will help you further, and show you how to learn English correctly.
Timur: There is a question that confuses many. People are all different, they perceive information and learn differently. Is there any classification of people who find it easier to learn English and who find it harder? What affects it?
Nazar: We have a stereotype that it is more difficult for older people to learn foreign languages. But you may have heard of a magazine that focuses on education. It's called Education First. They have an interesting index showing the level of English proficiency in general in Europe and on different continents. It is determined annually through surveys of millions of representatives of certain countries.
They conduct not only a general analysis of the knowledge of the country or the population of this country of English or a foreign language but also make an age cut. An interesting fact: in Europe, the level of English among the population aged 20 to 25 has been declining over the past five years. And people over the age of 40 have doubled their level. Imagine how this breaks the stereotypes.
Timur: Why did this happen?
Nazar: Perhaps, this is due to the fact that people of an older age segment have received the development of the Internet, have been able to access the global network from home, get any job vacancies, etc. Access to English is higher, but the goal is what motivates people the most. If they have an economic aim or another objective, then people aged from 30 to 40 are more conscious of their goals, in choosing what they want.
And it proves this point: people who clearly understand what they want to learn more systematically. Only systematics and the right method allow you to learn English much faster. This completely breaks the stereotype that only young enough people can be successful in learning languages.
But the segment of 18–20-year-olds remained constant. In Europe, young people have remained at the same level.
If we talk about Ukraine, the proportion of those who know English ranges from 17 to 20%. But there is good news for us. An analysis was carried out, and we are now the first country in Europe in terms of the growth of the English language. That was back in 2021, and 2022 should give an even bigger boost to learning English.
Daria: Nazar, you said that in Europe, most of the older people began learning English more. Isn't this due to the fact that young people who already have a good level of English after graduating from the university, study various technologies, and are competitors for those who are 35+? And that is why it encourages the older generation to catch up with the youth.
Timur: I think that this is also one of the factors that influence it. And what we have said is that now there is accessibility thanks to the Internet to completely different niches, to work in different companies that are located on different continents, and the like. Globalization is coming and going. People who master the Internet quickly, and their conscious attitude to the issue create a boom in learning the language of the world, business, and work. I think the factor you mentioned is equally important.
Daria: Can you remember the oldest student in your school?
Nazar: Yes, of course, I have three favorite students who came to us aged over 80. These are interesting stories because they all had different motivations.
The first student is Vladimir, 82 years old. The man has worked all his life in the scientific field, he is a physicist. And a person, who knows only German from the old Soviet methods, declares that he wants to learn English from scratch. We asked what his motivation was. He said that he just wants to understand the news, learn something new, and there is not enough “work” for his brain. The man is a perfect example for young people who say there is no motivation. A person at the age of 82 begins to learn a language and does this successfully. He even prolonged his education, going from level zero to elementary, and prolonged his education further.
There was an interesting woman, a surveyor, who worked with English all her life, reads the news, and watches the BBC. And (she enrolled in our school) just to keep up. Also, at 80 years of age.
The third was also a person who has been in the educational field her whole life. She was engaged in the exchange of European and our students, who could get an internship at enterprises. And then, at a certain period, her translator fell sick with covid. There was no time to search, and she said that she would teach English herself at that age.
And this again proves that this is a stereotype that it is impossible to learn a language at an older age.
Daria: Friends, that's why English is necessary at any age, even at 82, don't forget about it.
Timur: Cool story. When people come and they have motivation at that age, this is an example for many people not to forget to work on themselves.
Daria: With the beginning of the pandemic, with the start of the war in 2022, is there a trend for the growth of the number of students, that is, an increase in the number of people who want to learn English? If yes, what are the main motives for this happening?
Nazar: Of the main motives, of course, this is the fact that people who were hostages of the situation, stayed at home, some without work and education, and had an abyss of time that could be devoted to education. Why not, why not pump yourself up in skills, why not get a level that will allow you to get a job vacancy. Of course, this was the factor that allowed us to increase the number of new students.
In principle, people during Covid got a chance to reflect on their being: what they do and what they do wrong. English was the savior that allowed them to set new learning goals.
Timur: I propose to move on to a more practical side. I understand that this is all individual, but still, how long it takes to learn English, for example, from zero to B2?
Nazar: Here, too, everything is really relative. But we can give some statistics. It will depend on the person themselves, on how much time they want to devote to English. A person can come from scratch and, studying only 2-3 times a week, clearly and systematically going through our classes, and being immersed in the environment using a mixed method, can reach a level that will allow you to pass an interview or feel confident in work, in negotiations already a year later. It will take about a year and a half if it is allocated 2-3 times a week.
And it all depends on the person and the amount of time they devote to studying. If a person wants to practice five times for three hours, it will be faster.
Timur: So, on average, you need a year and a half?
Nazar: This is at the pace that I said. If, for example, you, Timur, set yourself the goal that you have six months and you can allocate time for this every day, you can reach this level in six months.
Timur: Twice a week is an average pace.
Nazar: This is an average person who works, has a family, and can allocate this time.
Daria: By the way, about such intensive as five days a week or more. Will not a moment of burnout happen to a person who has just begun to study? He speaks this English every day, it's not easy. Won’t the burnout happen? Perhaps, you have to study English systematically but in doses.
Nazar: Exactly. If we go too fast and don't approach this issue individually, this can happen. Therefore, you need to focus on the person himself. Therefore, we have an individual approach. Our methodology allows everyone to choose the pace that gives him the result. Accordingly, it is necessary to take into account the capabilities of the student himself and take what is feasible. Some can really study for three hours a day, have fun, and be passionate about English. And it is very important that it is not a burden. If you set a goal, it's cool if you get joy from this process.
A vivid example is people who did not study according to the correct methodology. They formed a stereotype that it is difficult, that it is a lot of boring work with grammar and years of study. If you use the right technique and properly allocate your time, you get joy, you admire it and it becomes a hobby. If you turn learning English into the status of a hobby, you are guaranteed success.
Timur: We said that from zero to B2 is about 1-1.5 years. And with this level, you can find a job in gambling, in IT on our website. With this level, you can find a job with a monthly salary of $2 000 or more.
Watch the full video of the Speak Up podcast for an interactive game in which the hosts show Nazar cards with the logo of competitors, and he tells his associations:
Daria: Quite often, parents who have a low English level force their children to learn it from kindergarten. Is this the right approach, will it help in the future or, on the contrary, demotivate children?
Nazar: The sooner children are immersed in the correct English-speaking environment, the better. There are cases when a child at the age of six fully masters the language and perceives it better than his parents.
Again, we return to the correct methodology. If parents stereotypically come to the conclusion that the child needs to take a tutor and learn grammar and the like one-on-one from the age of five, this, of course, may not have a very good effect.
At 5-6 years of age, you can immerse your child in an interesting learning format with other children in small groups with a good teacher. The teacher must also have a specialization. A cool specialist for adults cannot deal with children. They do not know how, psychologically, children will react to certain tools. Therefore, you need to look for a teacher who will inspire children, to whom children will run and hug with a smile. We have cases when children at the age of 6-7 brought gifts, hugged teachers, and became friends with them.
Timur: Is there more gamification in education?
Nazar: Exactly. We need to create an environment that will give results through games and communication.
Daria: To sum up our dialogue, what are the main reasons why is English important for work?
Nazar: First of all, because it is an opportunity to earn more, to find self-realization in this global world, and to have access to absolutely all tools. All innovations, all big economics in most cases are English. Therefore, this is an opportunity to find self-realization, to understand this world, and to be understood by the world.
The second is communication. The same is partly true for the first reason. It helps to find a common language with all segments of the population of one's own and outside one's country. Just communication with people.
The third is a great inspiration, joy, and a lot of pleasure from the first steps when you manage to talk, and understand people. Believe those who have not yet learned. Let's take English as an example. This is not only a cool tool for moving up the career ladder but also a huge inspiration. This will complement your workdays with something bright, and cool, this is a release of dopamine because it turns into a hobby. So don't miss out on this cool opportunity.
Timur: We couldn't help but make a joint contest and give away some interesting products.
Nazar: Especially for our viewers, we will raffle off a very cool product - a course of specialized English to choose from for the winner. This is exactly the area where our winner wants to realize himself - business English, tourism, medicine, IT, etc. We will give a free “Specialized English Course”, and this will allow you to achieve your goal faster.
To participate, you also need to leave your YouTube nickname on Instagram under this post.
Don't forget to open your profile on Instagram and YouTube. Only real profiles can take part. The draw will take place on Instagram LC Work on October 27th.
Detailed conditions of the competition can be found here.