An exclusive interview with Roy Yap who is Chief Executive of London Westminster College (LWC) in the United Kingdom. He is from Singapore but lives in London for over 25 years, now travel between London, Singapore and Malaysia.
Tell us about yourself?
In my younger years after graduating from University, I was working for many advertising companies and was also a junior journalist for a few publishers in the UK. Until 2008 I became an educator and have been lecturing at Chester University, Hertfordshire University, Ofqual Regulated programmes and I am currently a Doctoral research student at Trinity Saint David, University of Wales. My beliefs and ideals of providing “education with a heart” and access to higher education should be borderless.
How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
When I was lecturing in Singapore, I saw many students travel many hours to attend lessons and some even cross-border daily just to save costs, it pains my heart to see such determination. So, LWC was created with academics and a great team to offer the learners with regulated awarding bodies and accredited qualifications with access anytime and anywhere. This is made possible with technology and learning centres such as the “Learning Awards Academy” (LAA). Most importantly, Universities in UK widely accept the Ofqual programme as University credits shortening the degree journey.
How much potential market share can you achieve in next 3 years?
Recognition and regulated programmes are important to us, and education is about patience and integrity, I hope by 3 years the Learning centres can be accessed in many remote parts of Asia. Currently, we have one set up in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City, and Malaysia, Johor. Unfortunately, the centres are in its infancy but I have strong feelings that it will take off as we have many interested people taking up the programme.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
I am not the kind of a storybook reader as I never finish a book,”I think”, I am a book abandoner, I usually search the book on what I want, or complete the last chapter. I am a Trekkie fan, I love Star Trek, probably watch every episode twice or maybe three times on the entire Star Trek series, the glimpse of the future which I never live to see that.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
Paying for my education was the best purchase or investment, did my MBA with Leicester University, I can’t imagine how much difference my life can be without it. But the degree always gives me that confidence throughout my career and of course I learned many theories which do apply to real-world scenarios. Too many bad purchases but luckily living in the UK gives absolute consumer rights, I usually return what I don’t like or anything that is not up to standard. Eating at the restaurant is something I can’t refund I would usually blacklist the restaurant and never return.
What takes up too much of your time?
I try to be as productive as possible on a daily basis, I would do little things that help either for the business or the students. I find that I spent a lot of time formulating, brainstorm strategies at the same time be responsible to the students coming into the programme. Like some say time flies when you are so focused on work.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
Being an educator I would say education, as learning is a lifelong journey, the moment we stop we can be obsoleted and become irrelevant to society, it does not need a specific time on these, most importantly at your own pace and time. Successful entrepreneurs need to have strong leadership skills, ranging from motivating, delegating, mentoring, creativity, trust and steadfast commitment. Not forgetting the people that work around you and being a team player. LWC has a philosophy of team working where success is always the team effort and not yours alone.
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
That would be my Mum and Dad, they taught me so much in life, both are successful entrepreneurs in their separate trades. Of course, there are ups and downs but, I have witnessed their strong determination of getting there from something to nothing and became a successful developer and a restaurateur in the heart of London.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
I am proud of my family and many good friends that surround me. I am thrilled and proud of my students when they are successful in their career as they took part of me with them. I have gone through a serious accident that I have overcome, I am back to road cycling, I see that a way to destress myself and keeping fit.
How people should connect with you?
London Westminster College & Learning Awards Academy is on many social platforms.
I am very much responsive to email as well: firstname.lastname@example.org