2021 British Council’s English Language Assistants Programme

Deadline: February 3, 2021.

Established in 1905, the British Council’s English Language Assistants (ELA) programme is a major UK mobility initiative that offers paid teaching placements abroad, providing the perfect opportunity to travel, teach and gain invaluable experiences along the way.


To be eligible to apply, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be Highly Proficient in English: Your level of English (speaking, listening, reading and writing) must be equivalent to C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages  (CEFRL). You must assess your own level against the CEFRL, however we will also assess your English skills by reviewing your written application and your reference. It is in your own interest to hold the required level of English as you will be expected to teach it to a high level.  
  2. Meet the Language Requirement: Language requirements vary between countries. You do not need a formal language qualification – skills can be acquired through regular travel, private study or a course at a university language centre. 
  • China, Hong Kong and Spain: no language skills required
  • Austria, Germany and Switzerland: A2 in the target language
  • All other destinations: B1 in the destination’s main language

3. Hold a UK/Irish or European passport: You must hold a UK, Irish or other European Union (EU) passport to be eligible for the English Language Assistant programme. Holders of a non-EU passport are not eligible for the programme.

Some countries (Canada, Chile, China and Italy) require applicants to hold a UK/Irish passport. Please check the individual country pages for more specific requirements. Only holders of a UK passport may apply to Argentina. Please check the individual country pages  for more specific requirements.

4. Have lived in the UK for a minimum of two years and be eligible to apply for an International Child Protection Certificate: Candidates must have lived in the UK at some point in their life for a total of two years prior to application. All applicants must be able to demonstrate their knowledge of UK culture which will be assessed through questions in the application form. 

Successful candidates must also apply for an International Child Protection Certificate  (ICPC) before taking up their post, which requires that they have been living in the UK for 2 years prior to applying.

5. Hold the minimum academic qualifications: The Language Assistants programme primarily provides undergraduates with the opportunity to carry out their year abroad, however we welcome applications from graduates and those who have pursued other academic and career pathways. To be eligible for the programme you must therefore have any of the following qualifications in advance of starting your post:  

  • Have completed at least two years of an undergraduate degree OR
  • Have completed a TEFL or CELTA course with at least two years of English Language Teaching OR 
  • Have completed at least one year of study of a Level 5 qualification (or above) through a Further Education institution/ TVET college


As an English Language Assistant, you will: 

  • strengthen your CV
  • improve your fluency in another language
  • gain a number of skills including communication, presentation, time management, organisation, teamwork, and problem-solving
  • immerse yourself in another culture and improve your cultural awareness
  • develop professional confidence

OFFICIAL LINK: https://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-abroad/outside-uk/english-language-assistants?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ELA2021

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