Because English is the international language of business, engineering, aviation and other fields, there is high demand for teachers of English as a foreign language
With the number of jobless university leavers expected to break through the 100,000 mark tomorrow, many graduates are qualifying as TEFL teachers and looking beyond Britain’s borders to find work.
Thousands of graduates who left university this year have joined the 70,000 people from the class of 2008 who have been unable to find work, official figures are expected to confirm. These 100,000 graduates, however, make up just a fraction of youth employment in Britain; data from the Office of National Statistics due to be published tomorrow will also show that the total number of jobless under-25s broke the 1million barrier in October, a 6 per cent increase from August.
However, while opportunities for young people in Britain continue to dry up, vacancies for graduates to go abroad to teach English as a foreign language continue to stay buoyant, especially in Asia, with around 20,000 vacancies for teaching jobs abroad posted online every month.
Henry DeVries, the career and workplace editor of the San Diego News Network, stated that there is a constant demand for English teachers in major Asian nations.
"Because English is the international language of business, engineering, aviation and other fields, there is high demand for teachers of English as a foreign language," Mr DeVries added.
As a result, many under-25s are now beginning to see the advantages of TEFL as a preferable alternative to long-term unemployment. For example, over half of those teachers currently taking part in TEFL course provider i-to-i’s Teach in China internships are under 25.
In contrast to the massive competition for places on graduate job schemes, getting a TEFL job is relatively straightforward: the majority of language schools only ask that potential teachers are fluent English speakers who have completed a recognised TEFL course, such as the ones offered by i-to-i. Their TEFL courses are fast, flexible and start from as little as £219.
As well as being a way of avoiding unemployment, TEFL offers bright graduates and young people the opportunity to broaden their horizons through travel and gain valuable skills while doing it. Teaching English abroad strengthens young people’s leadership, communication and presentation skills, as well as their confidence – all things that will stand them in good stead if they decide to return to the UK jobs market.
Craig Barber, a 22-year-old recent graduate who is currently teaching English as a foreign language in Shanghai, said: “My first day of teaching ever went much better than I thought it would, it was actually quite fun! The lessons that I had planned went quite well and I had a Chinese teacher in the class with me which made it much easier. I left the school after my first 8 hours feeling uplifted and quite pleased with myself, I had survived!”
And with experts such as Charles Ball, research director at the Higher Education Careers Services Unit, predicting that the graduate jobs market in the UK will not fully recover until 2013, many more young people look set to follow Craig’s lead and head abroad to teach English.
Honor Baldry – Teaching English abroad is the perfect opportunity for any English speaker to explore the world. As long as you’re a fluent English speaker, a TEFL course is your ticket to the journey of your life.
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