Staff Profiles

The Essential English Centre Bairbre Walsh

Bairbre Walsh – Director

Bairbre holds a CELTA (Pass A) English teaching qualification and hold a first class honours degree from Lancaster University. She has worked in education for all of her professional life, in the areas of teaching, administration and curriculum management.  She has also lived and worked in the USA, Australia and Europe.  Along with being involved in the day-to-day activities of the school, Bairbre also works closely with Damien the Academic Manager, and along with Jo Wilde, oversee the overall running of the school. 

Jo Wilde The Essential English Centre

Jo Wilde – Director

Jo’s passion for communication led her to win a place at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London where she spent 3 years in actor training.  Receiving a 2:1 honours degree from The University of London, Jo then continued to work within the field of performance and communication working for a variety of public and private sector organisations including Bentley Cars.  Jo has spent many years teaching and training and holds a CELTA (Pass B) qualification.  Within The EEC Jo acts as the Operations Manager, is actively involved in day to day life of staff and students and ensures that The EEC is a happy place to be!

Damien Burton – Academic Manager

Damien is the Academic Manager at The Essential English Centre. He knows the school and its students very well, and he ensures that the academic side of the school runs well and in the best interests of the student. Damien, has been a teacher of English for ten years, with vast experience in teaching General English, Business and Academic English, Exam Preparation and English for Specific Purposes. Damien works with the rest of the Academic Management team to ensure high standards of teaching and learning across all programmes. Damien holds a CELTA (Pass B) as well as the DELTA qualifications. 

The Essential English Centre staff profile

Patrick Williams – IELTS + Cambridge Examinations teacher

Patrick became an English teacher in 2008, obtaining the CELTA qualification after graduating from the University of Sheffield.  During his teaching career he has taught in 5 different countries around Europe and spent 5 years working for International House in Spain.  He has extensive experience preparing students for the IELTS and Cambridge exams across all levels.  He also holds the IH Certificate in Business English Teaching and has worked in a number of multinational companies such as KPMG and Abengoa, as well as Andalucia’s regional parliament and Navarra’s Ministry of Finance in Spain. He joined the Essential English Centre in August 2015 and enjoys meeting people from all over the world, whilst helping his students to make the most out of their language learning experience.

Liam Thomas – General English teacher

Originally from North Wales, Liam has been an on-off Manchester resident for almost 14 years. He has been teaching since 2010 – both at various institutions in the UK and for the British Council in the bustling city of Bangkok, Thailand. Liam has a First Class Honours degree from the University of Salford, and a Trinity CertTESOL (Distinction Award). Liam is experienced in teaching a wide range of class types, nationalities and sizes – from beginner to advanced, and from General English to exam classes, including IELTS, FCE, CAE and TOEIC. Liam is passionate about language and teaching, and is currently studying for his MSc in Applied Linguistics.

The Essential English Centre staff profile

Ben Watson- General English + IELTS teacher

With a CELTA (Pass B) English teaching qualification, Ben has taught a vast range of cultures, levels and class types, ranging from Business English at International House in Spain and Central America, to English for Academic Purposes at the University of Leeds and the British Council. As well as teaching General English to all levels, he has a huge amount of experience in preparing the Cambridge Exam Suite and IELTS exam and also holds the IH Certificate in Business English Teaching. He has been teaching at the Essential English Centre since moving to Manchester in September 2015.

The Essential English Centre staff profile

Caroline O’Connor – General English teacher

Having originally worked as a specialist nurse for the National Health Service, Caroline re-trained and more recently gained her CELTA English teaching qualification.  Also holding an honours degree from Manchester Metropolitan University, Caroline teaches General English across all levels, in particular on our popular Language for Life programme.  She has good rapport with all of her students, and having also lived abroad in the past, she understands the student journey when it comes to moving to a new country and culture.

The Essential English Centre staff profile

Keith Bentley – General English teacher

Keith is a very experienced teacher, and teaches General English across all levels, as well as Business English.  He is also an experienced IELTS and Cambridge exam preparation tutor.  Keith holds a Grade B CELTA qualification and has worked as an English teacher in Russia, Brazil and throughout the UK. He holds a keen interest in teaching methods and constantly implements new ideas in class to make his lessons interesting, involving and effective.  Keith loves travelling and meeting people from other countries and cultures.  

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