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Graduates Turn to TEFL as Unemployment Soars

Job-hungry British graduates are heading overseas in their thousands to escape rising unemployment at home.

According to a study by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), 8.9 per cent of the class of 2009 were out of work six months after graduating – a rise of one per cent since last year.

Leigh Salsbury, 23, who graduated with a degree in English Literature from Brunel University, said: “The graduate jobs market at the moment is devastating. I know there are lots of companies offering graduate schemes but it was difficult to find any related to my course.”

As a result of this rise in graduate unemployment, Leigh and many other graduates are now heading overseas to find work. The TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course provider i-to-i has seen a surge in the number of recent graduates and students who want to get TEFL certified to take advantage of the massive demand for native English speaking teachers in countries like China, South Korea and Thailand.

Over the past year, there has been a five per cent increase in the number of recent graduates and students enrolling in i-to-i TEFL courses. Due to this rise in demand, i-to-i has published a free eBook, The Graduate’s Guide to Teaching and Travelling Abroad, to help recent graduates navigate the TEFL industry. It is available to download here:

Rachel Marriott, 23, who read English Literature and Theatre at York St John University, decided to get TEFL certified after she found her 2:1 degree wasn’t enough to find a job she was passionate about after graduation. She now teaches English in Asan, South Korea.

Teaching English abroad is a great opportunity to travel, make life long friends and do something that can really change a child's life, no matter whether it’s a Korean student or an African orphan,” she explains.

“Being a TEFL teacher is a rewarding job and something I never thought I would be so passionate about.”

With over 2billion people learning English worldwide, the demand for native English speakers like Rachel to teach English overseas is huge. It’s a particularly tempting option for graduates as there is no need for teaching experience or the ability to speak another language. All it takes is a TEFL course to get started.

Internationally recognized courses with i-to-i start from just £129 and can be completed online in as little as 12 days. More comprehensive certificates, which are necessary to take on the best-paid jobs overseas, start at £349, combine online and classroom learning, and are usually completed in around 6 weeks.

Leigh Salsbury said: “The flexibility of being able to study online around work initially attracted me to my i-to-i TEFL course, and the help that they offer after the course in finding jobs and placements is great too.”

Those who want more information about teaching overseas should contact one of i-to-i’s expert TEFL advisors on +44(0)113 205 4623 or visit

For interviews, images or comments please contact:

Lynsey Devon
Marketing & PR
Phone: 07930631493

Notes to the editor

1. i-to-i is the UK’s leading provider of TEFL courses. From 20 hour classroom courses and flexible online courses, to fully comprehensive 140 hour courses, i-to-i is committed to ensuring that graduates have the confidence and skills they need to become effective TEFL teachers abroad. Training over 16,000 TEFL teachers each year, i-to-i TEFL certificates are internationally recognised and accredited by the Open and Distance Learning Quality Council (ODLQC).
2. In conjunction with its TEFL courses, i-to-i also offers a Paid TEFL Jobs Abroad service. This growing service places people in English teaching jobs in seven countries, including China, Thailand, South Korea, Ecuador, Japan and the Czech Republic. i-to-i graduates can also apply for some of the 20,000 TEFL jobs posted online every month independently.
3. In order to teach abroad, i-to-i recommends that those with no previous teaching experience complete at least 120 hours of TEFL training to prepare them for the challenges ahead. Doing a 4-week residential course (such as the CELTA) is recommended for those who want to make a long-term career out of TEFL, but is not worth the initial investment for those who want to teach abroad for a year or two.