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The English Language Assistant programme has a simple online application process. ©

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Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are now closed.

Our applications to be an English Language Assistant in 2023/24 have now closed. We will not be accepting late applications. Our applications for the 2024/25 cohort will open in Autumn 2023.

Final deadline for tutor reference submission is February 8th 2023 13.00 GMT.

Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Statement 

The British Council is committed to policies and practices of equality, diversity and inclusion across everything we do.  

We want to encourage applicants from under-represented groups, in particular, but not exclusively, on grounds of ethnicity and disability to take part in the Language Assistants programme. We encourage people of all backgrounds and communities to apply for our programme and will always try to accommodate any placement preferences or requirements stated in your application that relate to protected characteristics. 

We welcome discussions about specific requirements or adjustments to enable participation and engagement in our programme. 

Important notes about the application process:

  • Before starting the application process, please read and ensure you understand the English Language Assistant code of conduct.
  • Your application must be completed through our online platform. After clicking on the apply button you will initially be asked to register and create a profile on the system using an email address and creating a password. Please use a permanent email address as this cannot be changed once you have registered. You can add an alternative email address but the one you use to register must be your main contact email address. Please do not use a university email address if you are due to graduate before starting in post.
  • Thoroughly research the destination you are applying to before submitting your application in order to make an informed decision when selecting your placement preferences. Explain any strong preferences you have in the Preferences section of the application form, particularly if they concern protected characteristics. Preferences are not guaranteed but are taken into consideration where possible. 
  • Follow the step-by-step table below on how to complete the application form.

Completing your application - Part 1

This is a step by step guide to completing the application form.




Introduction Application URN This is where you will find your application unique reference number (URN) which will begin ELA-2023. Please always quote this number when contacting the British Council so we can easily locate your application.
Eligibility   Please take extra care when completing this page, as you will not be able to change your answers once you have moved on to the next section. If you accidentally select the wrong response, you'll have to withdraw your application and begin a new one.
About you Passport number Please ensure your current passport number is valid for at least 6 months after the end of your assistantship. If your passport has expired or will expire during your assistantship, please provide your old/current passport number. Once your new number arrives, please contact us by email to update your details.
Education Please enter the start and end dates of your education history. If you are not certain of the exact dates, put the first date of the months you started and ended. 

For most countries, you will be able to give regional preferences, environmental preferences and a preference for the age group you’d like to teach. However, the number of posts in each area is limited and your preferences cannot be guaranteed.  

All reasonable wishes for regional or environmental preferences, medical or otherwise, should be researched and explained as fully as possible on the application form to ensure the best chance of a desired match.   

If your preferences concern protected characteristic(s), please state this clearly in the ‘Reason for preferences’ section of the form. We greatly encourage those from under-represented groups to take part in our programme and will always try to accommodate preferences to enable participation.

If you have contacts and possible accommodation in a particular area, you must state the name of your host and address of the accommodation in the 'Reasons for preferences' section of the form. We can also take other strong reasons for regional preferences into consideration, provided you highlight them in your application.  

We try to meet candidates' preferences as much as possible, but we cannot guarantee a placement in line with your regional or environmental preferences. 

Supporting statement details of application - Part 2

Supporting statement details  Motivation and supporting statement 

Remember that this is a job application for a competitive process. Your application may be read not only by the British Council but also by our overseas partner agency, local authorities and host schools abroad. 

Please make sure that your answers are appropriate for a job of this nature. Use examples and evidence to convince us of your suitability for the programme.

Remember that your response to the supporting statements section of the application has a recommended minimum and maximum character count. We encourage applicants to use the character count available to them. 

If your application does not meet the required standard or the answers provided are too brief, it will not be accepted.

You can update and change all the details on your online application (apart from your eligibility and the email address that you initially registered with) up until you press ‘submit’. After this point you cannot change anything, including your choice of referee and preferences.  

After you have submitted your application, you will need to keep us up-to-date with any changes to your passport number, address or contact details. Please inform us by emailing LanguageAssistants.UK@britishcouncil.org 

Reference and submission of application - Part 3

Reference Letter of recommendation

You will be asked to provide the email address of someone who can act as a referee. If you are a current or recent student, this should be one of your tutors or a year-abroad coordinator. If you graduated before 01 January 2022 your referee should be a recent employer. 

Once you submit your application form, the system sends an email to your referee requesting the reference. If you must change your referee, a third party can access this link using your URN provided in the email. You must allow time before the deadline for your referee to complete your reference; if it is not completed in time your application will not be taken forward.

You should ensure that your referee is able to complete the online reference request form that we provide: many large corporations only provide references that confirm your employment with them. We are unable to accept these. 

Applicants studying at institutions such as the Open University should not provide details of a referee from this institution and should seek an alternative referee. Due to the distance learning nature of such courses, tutors are often unable to provide bespoke references.

Applicants for Switzerland: You are required to provide TWO references. You will be able to upload an additional letter of recommendation when selecting Switzerland as one of your country preferences in the application. The letter must be uploaded before submitting your application (deadline: 1 February 2023). Please refer to the Switzerland page  for further information and guidance.


Applications are assessed initially using the following criteria: 

  • motivation 
  • adaptability 
  • target country cultural awareness 
  • teaching experience 
  • expression and presentation. 

Consecutive year and returning applicants

If you are a consecutive year or a returning applicant, please see our dedicated guidance page on how to complete and submit your application.

Video interviews for selected destinations

Candidates for Hong Kong, Latin American destinations, or Canada who pass the first stage of selection will be invited to a video interview. You will receive a link via email to complete your video interview. This will last approximately 20 minutes and will consist of a series of questions surrounding your motivations to be an assistant, your adaptability and relevant experience to the role.  

Applicants not selected for a further assessment stage might be offered a transfer to another destination if their application is of a high enough standard and meets the relevant destination eligibility requirements.  

You will be asked if you require any adjustments to be made in order to facilitate your participation in a video interview, if invited. If you require any adjustments, please clearly outline what the requirements are when asked in the Background section of the application form. 


  • Target destination and home country cultural awareness  

Support requirements

If you have any specific support requirements, please provide as much information as possible in your application to allow us and our partners to find you a post which is best suited to your needs. This could include requirements relating to; disabilities, mental health conditions, long-term or chronic illnesses, dependent children or other personal circumstances. If there are any circumstances which may affect your ability to live independently abroad and/or to perform your contractual duties as a Language Assistant, please ensure you indicate this in your application.  

If you indicate the above, a free text box will appear for you to state what your specific requirements are in order to carry out the duties of an English Language Assistant abroad. Please be specific about your requirements so that we can work with our partners overseas to try and meet them.  

In order to discuss any specific requirements with our partners overseas when matching you to a suitable placement, you will need to tick the box to confirm you consent to us highlighting this information to our partner organisation. It will not be possible for us to accommodate these requirements without this as the programme is delivered in partnership with our partners overseas.   

We may contact you during the application process to request further information on any support requirements to help our allocation process. Please note that it is not always possible for our overseas partners to accommodate all requests and you should undertake independent research to understand what support is available in your country of application.   

We recommend that you look at the preferences for your country of application and research the areas available thoroughly before applying. 

If you are invited to a video interview (applicable for Hong Kong, Canada and Latin American destinations only) you can also outline any specific adjustments you require for your participation in your application.