Career Advice Company Initiatives

Making the grade

The KG Group is looking for teachers, administrators and a principal with the skills to create a top-class preschool

Children’s education provider the KG Group will be adding a preschool to its portfolio of education centres this year when it launches Mills International Preschool in Yau Tong in August. The preschool will become the fourth branch of the group’s business, which currently operates the Star English, Kids’ Gallery and Face Productions brands.

“We’re on a big recruitment drive at the moment,” says Jane Archibald, the group’s director of corporate development. “We need talented teaching staff and administrators and an ambitious principal for the new preschool.”

More than anything, the group looks for passion and enthusiasm in its staff. “We expect the best qualifications and relevant experience, but attitude, flexibility, and a passion for the job are the most important qualities,” Archibald says.

Candidates for teaching positions should have a background in early-childhood or pre-primary education. “We are looking for teachers who are conversant with current early-childhood theory and practice, have strong leadership skills, and are able to inspire children and parents alike. A desire to work with the local community is also important,” Archibald says.

The group is also seeking teachers for its Star English and Kids’ Gallery centres in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore.

In Hong Kong, Star English is in search of a head of department, English teachers and a customer services officer. Kids’ Gallery has openings for a customer services officer, a visual arts teacher, a communication arts and performing arts teacher, and an assistant teacher.

Kids’ Gallery Shanghai is looking for a communication arts and performing arts teacher, an early learners teacher, and a visual arts teacher, while Kids’ Gallery Singapore is in search of a communication and language arts teacher and a performing arts and communication arts teacher.

Star English requires staff to hold a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate or equivalent and be experts in making English accessible to those seeking to improve their grammar, debating skills or writing abilities. Kids’ Gallery needs people to have backgrounds in art or communication, while at Face Productions, performing arts teachers have to love to sing, dance and put on shows.

Archibald says staff can expect a challenging, yet at the same time rewarding, working experience at the KG Group.

“No two days are ever the same so you really have to know how to manage your time and deal with change while always having a smile on your face. This is also what makes it a great place to work because there are many opportunities to get involved in different aspects of the business, so it’s a huge learning opportunity too,” she says.

“You get the best of both business and education working here. We actively encourage all members of staff to submit ideas on all aspects of the business. We have a supportive, employee-focused culture that is continually evolving. So if you like a personal and professional challenge in a supportive environment, then this is definitely the place for you.”

Formal monthly training sessions cover everything from first aid and marketing to business planning and IT skills upgrades.

“We are a big believer in regular feedback and open communication among all members of staff. We have a formal performance-management system that helps to identify training needs as well as high-potential employees. Every member meets formally with their manager twice a year so they can assess how they are doing in terms of meeting objectives and identify other training needs,” Archibald says.

Through a project charter system, employees are encouraged to submit ideas and take on more responsibility as part of their professional growth plan. “This is an ideal way for us to identify engaged, motivated employees, while at the same time offer an avenue for staff to give feedback,” Archibald says.

Michelle Tam, head of department for communication arts and a teaching and curriculum consultant, says that the group provides a fun, creative and supportive environment that promotes equal opportunities for staff and encourages their career development.

She graduated with a degree in art history and education from the University of Auckland in New Zealand and worked at a reading-recovery clinic to help children with reading difficulties before joining the KG Group.

“I have always been interested in working with children and wanted to play a part in their growth and development,” she says. “The KG Group allows children to explore and experience curriculums that develop more than just academic performance. In my opinion, personal enrichment is just as important as academic development – the two areas support each other.”

She adds that the group provides a fun, creative and supportive environment that promotes equal opportunities for staff and encourages their career development.

“Staff are given lots of opportunities and are encouraged to participate in different events, take on different duties, and use their skills and expertise in different areas,” she says.

“The company has given me different opportunities to strengthen and develop my technical-teaching skills, people skills and critical-leadership skills,” she says. “I have become much more than just a teacher – now I get to be involved in everything, including administrative and managerial duties.”