Woman sitting at desk in a shared space using a laptop
The English Language Assistant programme has a simple online application process. ©

Poyraz Tütüncü

Applications for the 2021-22 academic year closed on Wednesday 03 February 2021 at 16.00 GMT.

If you submitted an on-time application for 2021-2, your referee must submit your reference via the online form by Wednesday 10 February 2021 16:00 GMT.

 Applications for 2022-23 academic year are expected to open in Autumn 2021.

Important things to note 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.
  • Remember to keep hold of your password throughout your time as a Language Assistant as it will be used at later stages should you be successful.

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-2021. 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. In Higher Education, please list any university-level studies. Under Secondary/Further Education, list GCSE and A-level studies or equivalent.

All reasonable wishes for regional 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 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  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 2

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 2020 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: If you are applying for a post as an English Language Assistant in Switzerland, we strongly recommend that you upload an additional letter of recommendation as it can drastically increase the possibility of being offered a post. 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: 3 February 2021). 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 China, Hong Kong, Latin America, 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 requirements. 


  • Target destination and home country cultural awareness