Oxford Vision- A Warning

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Oxford Vision- A Warning

Unread postby loopyac » 07 Jul 2010, 12:55

I am writing this as a teacher who already has some experience, and knows the way job recruiters should and shouldn't organise themselves.
I am giving this as a general warning concerning my own experience with the education recruitment consultancy, Oxford Vision. They mainly deal with organising university placements in the Uk for foreign students, and in sending British teachers to other countries, in partiucular Turkey, Kazakstan,and U.A.E.
My own experience occured after applying for a kindergarten positon in Turkey. I already have experience teaching kindergarten in Russia, and was contacted almost imediately by their booking assistant who, having seen my CV, felt I was a good fit. I asked straight away about start dates, as due to prior commitments (including work) I was not available to start work until October 11th- the assistant said he would have to check with the school. I was delighted when he emailed me three days later and said that my date was fine, and arranged a skype interview between him and myself. Having been interviewed he said he was able to give me a firm offer, I checked once more that this was to start on the 11th October, he said yes and asked me to travel to their offices in London (I live in Norfolk) to sign the contract in person and to present my documents for copying.
When I arrived he wasn't in the office (dispite knowing I was coming on the day arranged) and his colleague saw me. He copied all my documents and certificates and then asked me to sign the contract, in doing so he said (you're starting on the 1st October, right?" to which I replied that I'd agreed with his colleague to start on the 11th. He just shrugged and said "Oh then I'm sure that's okay".
Feeling a little concerned I relayed this in an email to the assistant, and he assured me that "any date I want is fine".
Then I had an email asking for a scanned copy of my PGCE Certificate, as he needed proof of everything on my CV, and that he also needed confirmation that I would be starting work on the 1st October ?!?!?
I sent the copy, but also mentioned that his colleague had seen, verified and copied the original so had proof of it's existence! I also queried why he thought I was starting on the 1st, when I had confirmed with him on three occasions that my start date was the 11th. He sent me an email saying he would "have to check with the school", the next day I had an email saying the school wanted teachers to start at the beginning of SEPTEMBER (so ironically even the 1st October wouldn't do!) and that we'd have to "find a new school".
By this point I was furious and asked why I'd signed a contract when it was clear he hadn't confirmed my start date. I was treated to a tale of how the school had messed up, but I don't entirely buy it, and have refused to let him find me a job- I'd rather apply else where. I am now in the long drawn out process of trying to claim back my travel expenses for my wasted trip to London, complicated because the company can't issue cheques, and given my previous experiences of internet fraud I refuse to send my account details in an unsecurred email. I have suggested paypal or a postal order, but these seem to be far to much effort, although all he has to do for a postal order is go to the nearest post office- there are several in central London!
I appreciate that all cases are different and he may well successfully find jobs for a lot of teachers, but I just find that they are incredibly badly organised, and I began to distrust everything they said. First and formost the man in question refuses to except any responsibility for misleading me, and thinks that jobs falling through after a contract is signed is normal, in my experience it's not!
loopyac
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Re: Oxford Vision- A Warning

Unread postby peggydo » 26 Sep 2011, 00:15

Dear Loopyac,

I'm very sorry to hear about your experience with Oxford Vision. I saw their ad on one of the EFL teachers' sites and thought I'd just check for feedback from others. Was very happy to see your warning. Esp for Turkey, many schools and employment agencies ask for your originals and passport details to be sent with your application. That is simply not on. No one would think of sending their original documents to a school or employment agency without getting a signed contract, and one would certainly not be sending originals of any kind until actual arrival in the country and going to the visa ministry to actually get your visa stamped into your passport. My passport was lost by one of the orgs I worked with some years ago in Istanbul, and I had to get another passport before my papers could continue to be processed. In Oman, I have seen my passport for all to see, and anyone to take, on the visa person's desk. No effort was made to put it in safekeeping until the whole process was concluded. So, now I do not give up my passport, only copies, until I actually am driven to the visa section of the ministry so the visa official can stamp the visa in. The whole process takes about 1-3 hours, depending on the country, at the visa office. Since refusing to give my up my passport, though I've received a certain amount of grief from some orgs, I was never refused the working visa, and all went well. It is the specific visa person in your org or employment agency that is usually asking for something they really don't need until the actual day you go for your visa.

So many of these employment agencies have sprung up in the last 6-8 years in the UK. Many are surviving by their toe nails, and simply take advantage of teachers/teacher trainers who do not have the experience in a lot of countries to know better. Also, if a school cannot have a telephone or skipe interview with you before being offered a position with them, or if you will not be flown to them for a face-to-face interview, then the school is often not experienced enough to think of working for or just too lazy or cheap. That would be another indication that your application is not worth making.

There are still so many schools and orgs that revert to employment agencies in order not to have make the effort of looking for staff on their own. Some agencies are quite serious and honest. Unfortunately, many are not. This goes for not only Turkey, but a good number working in and out of the Gulf and S. Korea especially.

Interesting, too, that so many schools and institutes in Turkey are still offering salaries that were in effect 10 years ago! Turkey, especially Istanbul, has had a significant rise in living costs, so the salaries offered should reflect that, but often don't.
peggydo
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