LONDON—Pearson has called in PR support to help the company build the reputation of its English language learning services, as the group steps up its global education strategy.

The UK-listed company has hired Weber Shandwick to handle a lucrative global assignment, following a competitive review in London.

A Pearson spokesman told the Holmes Report that the company reviewed proposals from numerous contenders, before opting for Weber Shandwick. The firm has been engaged to "unify and run a broad range of communications and PR activities around English language learning."

The appointment comes after Pearson plc restructured earlier this year to accelerate its expansion into digital education and emerging markets. The company is the world's largest publisher of educational materials and is aiming to grow its international business in such markets as China, Brazil and India, where demand for its English learning services is rising.

Pearson's English learning business is now grouped with the Financial Times under the Pearson Professional brand, which sits alongside its school and higher education business units. 

"High quality English that helps people around the world progress in their lives and careers is one of the biggest global unmet learning needs, and Pearson provides a number of ways  to learn English — in a classroom, online or via mobile tools," added the spokesman.

Last month, Pearson also announced that Gates Foundation comms chief Kate James is joining the company as chief corporate affairs officer. At the time, Pearson CEO John Fallon noted that James would help build the company's "reputation for a significant and measurable impact on global education.“