Dedicated, Long Term Employees and Following the System Helps the Team Make a Difference in the Community
The Sylvan Learning franchise in Richmond, British Columbia has been serving area students for thirty years in all of their education needs. Franchisee Jimmy Tham credits the location’s success to the motivated students in the area along with a loyal staff that has worked at the center for many years.
Canadian graduate, Jimmy Tham, started his professional career as a property developer in Malaysia before returning to Canada in search of a new business. Having past experience in the education industry due to his wife’s ownership of kindergartens in Malaysia, he decided to look into educational franchises and purchased the Sylvan Richmond location in 2013.
Tham now owns five Sylvan Learning centers throughout Lower Mainland Vancouver. Although he has seen much success in all of his locations, there is something special about the Richmond franchise. He notes that the demographics in that area greatly value education. Tham explained, “Sixty percent of Richmond’s community is Asian, and once we deliver great results, we receive many friends and family referrals. New families tend to take their friend’s advice.”
Tham’s top teacher is a major driver in their great results. Ajith Varghese, who goes by AJ, is a highly regarded tutor at the Richmond center. He has been with the brand for eighteen years. He first joined the Coquitlam location back in 2002 and transferred to the Richmond location in 2009. AJ has accumulated 19,000 teaching hours, adding up to 48,000 teaching sessions throughout all subjects to students between grades four through twelve. With years of experience to call on, as well as the proven Sylvan system, AJ has the ability to personalize his teaching style to the specific needs of each student. In addition to his tutoring expertise, AJ goes above and beyond to inform the program directors of issues with students’ progress and organizes the binders at night, sometimes working until 10 p.m.
“Mr. Varghese is passionate about teaching and he cares about his students,” said center director for Richmond, Jade Chan. “At the same time, he is able to motivate students appropriately and effectively. That is why all his students make excellent progress under his care and he is also one of the most popular teachers at the center."
Another one of Tham’s reasons for success is the center’s persistence in practicing Sylvan’s core values. Michelle Bancroft, the center director for North Vancouver, explains that the student-teacher ratio has been 3:1 since the beginning. She mentioned that over the years, there have been a few adaptions to the overall programming, such as utilizing technology when teaching, but it has only enhanced, not taken away, from the tutoring center’s foundation.
Bancroft believes the franchise is also successful because of the amount of time and energy that the corporate team puts into continuously improving the curriculum, hiring certified teaching staff, and holding all parties accountable. Sylvan Directors conduct progress meetings with the parents every six weeks and provides an update on how their child is doing.
And Sylvan North Vancouver also celebrates 30 years in that community too.
By following Sylvan’s proven processes, hiring committed staff, and never losing sight of Sylvan’s mission, the Richmond location is able to celebrate 30 years in business while looking ahead to 30 more.