Am I eligible?

Are you resilient enough for Latin America? Could you adapt to life in China? How about dealing with the snowy, beautiful winters of Quebec? There are special qualities required by Language Assistants that vary country by country, as well as specific eligibility criteria you will need to meet.

Are there any language requirements?

You do not need a formal language qualification to become a Language Assistant. All you need are language skills equivalent to a B1 on the European Framework (please see document below). This is equivalent to the first year of A level/Higher. The requirements for Spain are slightly lower at an A2 level on the European Framework.

These skills can be acquired through regular travel, private study or through a course at the University Language Centre. If you are considering applying for China, you do not need any previous language skills at all.

Am I eligible?

Native-level English 

To become a Language Assistant, you must be a native-level English speaker. We assess your English skills by reviewing your written application, your university reference and your educational background. Sometimes, we might also need to test your English through a phone or face-to-face interview.

Secondary education

You should have completed your secondary education in the UK (aged 12-18 in Scotland, 11-18 in the rest of the UK). However, if you were educated outside of the UK but hold a UK passport, you may still be eligible, subject to a test of your knowledge of UK culture. If you were educated in the Republic of Ireland, you will be eligible if you are currently studying at a UK university and hold a UK or EU passport.

University

You must have passed two years of university-level education by the time you start your assistantship. If this was completed outside of the UK, please contact us before applying.

Anything else?

Preferences

You must be willing to accept any post offered to you. You will be able to register your preferences, but these cannot be guaranteed.

Time

You will need to be available to complete the whole period of appointment for the country to which you apply.

Background check

You will need to apply for an International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC)* (more details below). The cost of applying for an ICPC will be approximately £60 and you should not apply for an ICPC until told to do so.

If you have ever been convicted of, or received a caution, reprimand or warning for a sexual or violence related offence, or any offence involving any type of harm (physical, emotional or sexual) to a child or children, your application will not be accepted. 

TEFL

You do not need a Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualification to be able to apply.

Consecutive years

Please note, you can only be an English Language Assistant through the British Council four separate times, regardless of whether the posts were in the same or different countries. Both consecutive and non-consecutive years will be counted. Please note that our partner organisations abroad will have their own eligibility criteria so please check with us before applying if you would be able to stay for a consecutive year in that country.

Further information about each country

Austria

To be a Language Assistant in Austria, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • hold a UK or EU passport.

Joint honours students

There are a limited number of posts available for the first and second semesters of the year. Placements for the first semester start in the last week of September and end in early to mid February. Placements for the second semester start in mid to late February and end in late May. 

Applicants interested in these must indicate their preference on the application form stating if they are applying for a shorter post or the full period of appointment.

Belgium

To be a Language Assistant in Belgium, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • hold a UK or EU passport

Canada

To be a Language Assistant in Canada, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 September and 31 May
  • hold a UK or Irish passport.

China

To be a Language Assistant in China, you must:

  • be aged 55 or under
  • have successfully graduated by the time you start your assistantship
  • be able to produce your graduation certificate
  • be able to work between late August and 30 June (approximately).

France

To be a Language Assistant in France, you must:

  • be aged 35 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 30 April
  • hold a UK or EU passport.

Germany

To be a Language Assistant in Germany, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between late August and 31 May
  • hold a UK or EU passport

Joint honours students

There are a limited number of posts available from 1 September to 28 February. Applicants interested in these posts must indicate their preference on the application form by stating whether they are applying for a shorter post or the full period of appointment

Italy

To be a Language Assistant in Italy, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under
  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May
  • hold a UK or Irish passport.

Latin America

To be a Language Assistant in Latin America, you must:

  • be aged 30 or under (for Mexico placements only)
  • be able to work potentially between July and May (or from March for six months for Argentina)
  • hold a UK or Irish passport (for Mexico placements only)

Please note that you cannot apply for an assistantship in Colombia if you hold a Colombian passport or have dual nationality, one of which is Colombian.

Spain

To be a Language Assistant in Spain, you must:

  • be able to work between 1 October and 31 May (or until 30 June for Madrid primary school placements, or from 15 September – 15 June for some schools in Castilla and Leon).

Assistants who are currently working in Spain, but were recruited independently (i.e. not through the British Council), are not eligible to apply for the 2015-16 programme unless they are willing to be flexible regarding their allocation. Those who were recruited independently and wish to stay at the same school should speak to their school regarding the renewal of their contract.

There is an age limit of 35 for Madrid only.

Switzerland

To be a Language Assistant in Switzerland, you must:

  • be aged between 21 and 30
  • have turned 21 by the time you take up your post
  • be able to work between mid August/early September to late June/early July.