Jonathan Kolber is someone who likes to think outside of the box. He is usually ten steps ahead of the industry and is ready to change directions if the situation requires. Customer service has always been a core value at the International Language Academy of Canada (ILAC), as well as integrity and a focus on the students’ experience. While most schools were thinking about education, ILAC saw the classroom as only part of the learning journey for their students.
Under Jonathan’s guidance, ILAC has achieved tremendous success, enrolling 35,000 students annually. The distinctive leader of ILAC, Jonathan, has an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science from the University of Toronto. He is the co-founder and CEO of Canada’s largest English language school and now the ILAC Education Group. With locations in both Toronto and Vancouver, ILAC has extensive pathways programs that place thousands of students in Canadian universities and colleges every year. ILAC brings diversity to Canada’s post-secondary sector by recruiting students from countries in Central and South America, Europe, Asia and Middle East.
Talking about the success of ILAC alumni, Jonathan says, “There is no shortage of entrepreneurial success stories from our grads. Many have gone on to run lucrative businesses in entertainment, immigration services, cleaning services, media, tourism and the food industry. Most often we hire them and if they move on, we support their businesses and use their services at ILAC.” He adds, “We see our alumni all over Toronto and Vancouver, and they often come to introduce themselves when they see our team wearing the ILAC t-shirt. It is wonderful to see all the new immigrants that came through ILAC not just surviving, but thriving in their new lives. ILAC is often their first step in making their dreams come true in Canada.”
ILAC is one of the best-known English language schools in the world. For over 25 years, ILAC has offered international students a complete learning experience, which includes English programs, exceptional customer service, exciting social events, and a dynamic atmosphere. Their newly renovated campuses in Toronto and Vancouver feature modern interior design and a vibrant learning environment.
Every year ILAC welcomes thousands of students from over 75 countries, creating a tremendous diverse student population at the school. ILAC has partnership agreements with more than 80 Canadian post-secondary institutions and provides college and university placement for over 6,000 of ILAC’s graduates. ILAC is a pioneer in university pathway programs and continues to be a leader in university and college placements in Canada. Over the years, ILAC has received numerous awards (ilac.com/awards/) from around the world, recognizing ILAC’s commitment to teaching English and excellence in customer service.
During the pandemic, ILAC developed a new brand to make it easy for international students to continue their studies in Canada. ILAC KISS (Keep is Simple and Smart) online classes were an overnight hit and saved the company during covid. However, Jonathan still believes that technology is a tool and that it will never be a solution when it comes to working with international students and partners.
Towards the Future
For Jonathan and his team, success is an ongoing process and is measured differently by everyone. ILAC has been in business for over 25 years and is always listening, learning, changing, and growing. “Criticism is your best friend – at ILAC, we listen and learn from it,” says Jonathan.
Talking about the popularity of ILAC, Jonathan shines a light on ILAC KISS, which now sees thousands of students a year booking online courses. ILAC KISS has become a source of students that will eventually come to Canada and study at ILAC in Toronto or Vancouver. “COVID was a catalyst for us – we are no longer just an English school, we have become a pathway to Canada. We have now partnered with several higher education institutions and others are knocking on our door,” explains Jonathan. “Today the ILAC Education Group consists of several different brands – IELTS testing, the Canada Partnership Forum (CPF) for global agent training events, ILAC International College, Georgian@ILAC and Fanshawe Toronto Campus.”
In 2021, ILAC partnered with Georgian College to offer their programs at ILAC’s campus in downtown Toronto. Today, Georgian@ILAC offers courses in business, computer programming, HR and project management, among others. Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, then President and CEO of Georgian College, supported the initiative from the very beginning.
“Georgian is energized to enter into this new partnership with an esteemed personal faculty and, for the 1st time, develop our existence and good quality systems into Toronto.”
With this partnership, Georgian is hopeful that its expertise in post-secondary schooling will incorporate efficiently with ILAC’s track record as the prominent language school in Toronto. Doing the job collectively, Georgian and ILAC are equipped to leverage their merged global student recruitment expertise to entice a diversified scholar population from international locations all over the environment.
In 2022, ILAC partnered with Fanshawe College, allowing international students to take advantage of Fanshawe’s high-quality programming and also study in downtown Toronto, one of the safest, most multicultural and exciting cities in the world.
“This is also a pure extension option for college students in our English language and pathway programs, who can now remain in the ILAC family members as they continue to development in their scientific tests,” says Jonathan.
Recently, ILAC launched the ILAC Health Care Plan for all their students, which is usually sold to them as an additional cost of studying in Canada. “We are ensuring that all our students are properly insured and protected, and at the same time are disrupting the industry,” explains Jonathan. “We have also started an ILAC Concierge Health Care Membership, which offers students additional support and care such a dedicated nurse on campus and enhanced travel and health care benefits. At ILAC, everything we do is about the student experience.”