This month it’s the turn of Nick Barnes, our General Manager. He oversees the daily running of the company and wears a multitude of caps throughout the working week. Here’s your opportunity to find out who he is, more about what he does and what he likes to do outside of his work life. I took some time to sit with him and ask him a few questions.
What do you do for English in Action?
I am the General Manager… whatever that really means.
Can you tell me a bit about your role?
I was originally tasked with re-designing the website. Once that was complete, I took on some of the day-to-day design work, revamping some of the course books and producing some new promotional materials. From there I became more and more involved and was asked to implement various systems, usually hoping to streamline things and make everyone else’s job as straightforward as possible. As you can imagine, there’s a lot to organise so anything that frees up time to focus on delivering a fantastic English project week is welcomed by all involved. Gradually I took on the responsibility of running the business, a task which I now share with fellow director, Mike Turner.
What did today look like for you?
Today I have fixed a couple of things. One was a problem with our accounting software, the second was an issue with the EiA blog. Then I did some paperwork for our Finance Manager. It is very important to keep her happy. Then I built a module for our database that will allow us to keep more up-to-date records. Then I spoke to Oli, our new recruitment consultant, to see how he was getting on. Now I am replying to emails and tying up a few loose ends before I go off for a week.
When did you join the company?
I started in 2011 as a marketing assistant but my job title has changed many times over the years.
What’s the most enjoyable part of your work?
I enjoy the variety. I never really know how my day will pan out. My aim is to keep the company moving forward, to ensure that we continue to deliver the best for our students and their school. I love hearing from satisfied customers. I recently met with a supplier in Austria and, whilst explaining what we do, he delighted in telling me he was a former participant on an EiA course! I am incredibly lucky to work with a fantastic bunch of people, both our excellent teachers and the head office staff. We have had a tough few years but we pulled together, took care of one another, and survived to teach another day.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have two small children (ages 2 and 4) so they keep us on our toes. When I do get some time to myself, I go to the cinema to watch a film. Every Tuesday (when it’s not raining) I play bike polo, yes you read that correctly. A sport akin to ice hockey but played on a bike and a tarmac court. I recently returned from a week skiing in the Austrian Alps which is something I love doing but haven’t managed for a few years due to Covid. This year I intend to get back to my severely neglected allotment and start growing some fruit and veg again.
What music are you listening to on Spotify at the moment?
Right now, I am listening to Still Life by The Horrors. Before that, it was Silver by Caribou and Kindling by Elbow & John Grant.
What would your dream job be?
I have always wanted to be a farmer. It suits my dress sense as I am most comfortable in overalls and wellies. However, I’m not so good with plants (despite the allotment) so it would have to be livestock.
What’s your favourite food/drink?
I recently acquired a pizza oven so, at the moment at least, I would have to say a decent pizza topped with some homegrown asparagus. It is hot work though so it must be accompanied by a nice cold beer.