Michael Ratcliff has more than twenty years experience in ESL / EFL education. He has worked at every level from classroom teacher, teacher trainer, school manager, human resources manager, director of studies, sales & marketing, finance director, school director, school owner and served three years on the board of an education conglomerate listed on the Australian stock exchange.
In 1991, after gaining a BA in International Relations from Melbourne University, Michael began teaching in Korea, working at the Australia Centre – an education provider that prepared Korean university students to study in Australia and New Zealand. He then taught ESL for a year at Victoria College, Melbourne, where he was an early adopter of computer assisted learning programs. After which he taught in Japan for a year, and another year of full time teaching at Edith Cowan University, Perth. During these years he gained a Masters Degree in Language Education from Edith Cowan University and a Post Graduate Certificate in TESOL from the University of New South Wales.
Michael Ratcliff then took a position with Japan’s largest private education provider, ECC, writing text books at the national head quarters in Osaka. He stayed in this position for three years, and from his second year with the firm, took on HR duties recruiting, training and monitoring native English teachers across Japan.
Michael then undertook a three year stint with the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education, as a native English teacher at Ichioka High School, one of the oldest high schools in Japan. During this time he simultaneously founded his own Eikaiwa School in a restored 1930s warehouse on the banks of the Yodo river. This school predominately taught students after school hours. And when, after three years, he sold the school, it had branches in three suburbs, and around 250 students. He returned to Australia in 2003, setting up a state board accredited TESOL training program for Milton College, Sydney.
In 2005 he set up his own language school in Sydney, Greenwich College. Initially starting with 6 rooms and 3 students in Sydney’s CBD, the school broke even after six months and expanded to take over two floors of the building and one floor of a neighboring building – teaching around 500 students.
Michael then entered into an arrangement with venture capital group Redhill Education, who funded a multimillion dollar expansion of Greenwich College in 2007, when the school moved into new headquarters in Liverpool Street, Sydney. Operating two shifts a day (General English and IELTS Preparation) and running RSA and RCG courses on the weekend the school enrolled 4000+ students a year. In addition to setting up the education side of the College, all marketing and sales systems needed to be created from scratch, as did a range of pathways from the College to universities and other higher education providers.
Michael Ratcliff took a seat on the Redhill board of directors, and the company set up an education agency with branches in Australia, Europe and South America and acquired a design college, and a technology college. The group listed in the Australian Stock Exchange in 2010, with a valuation of AU$27 million.
While maintaining his seat on the Redhill board, Michael resigned from managing Greenwich College at the start of 2009, to set up Language Express in Thailand. This state of the art language centre employs 40+ staff and is located minutes from the heart of Bangkok’s CBD, on the ground floor of the Mahatun Plaza Building. It teaches English, Thai, Exam Preparation courses and has a healthy corporate training division whose clients in the Royal Thai Air-force, Ernst & Young, Siam Commercial Bank, Loxley Group and Kingpower Group. The school’s hospitality division has clients that include the Westin Hotel, Grand Centara Hotel, Imperial Hotel Samui, Bandara Hotel & Resorts and Vietnam Airlines.
Michael has retained his interest in textbook writing, and to date he was written or co-authored more than 30 books on Hospitality Training, English Conversation, English Grammar and TESOL Training. These books (together with the State Board accredited TESOL courses he wrote) have formed the IP core of a range of multi-million dollar courses at Greenwich College, Language Express and SELX.SELX is joing venture between Language Express and hospitality mangement company Siam Ease. It provides training to a range of hotels and resorts including the Westin, Imperial, Intercontiental, Bandara and Silavadee Samui.
At 40 years of age, Michael Ratcliff is still keen on expanding his activities and welcomes the opportunity to discuss interesting educational ventures with appropriate partners.