Brexit and remote working trigger surge in online demand for English teaching skills

Remote working is remedying a sharp fall in demand for Brits teaching English in mainland Europe in the wake of Brexit, a key industry player has revealed.

While physical demand for UK citizens teaching in Europe has declined, The TEFL Org has highlighted a significant increase in those looking to teach virtually instead.

Bosses at the Inverness-based firm have revealed the emergence of a distinct trend with employers seeking English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers who already have a right to work in Europe.

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At the same time, the firm has witnessed a surge in Brits taking up online courses, allowing them to teach European students digitally from the UK - with a number of online teaching companies offering remote teaching opportunities for UK citizens.

Launched from a garden shed in the middle of the 2008 financial crash by founders Jennifer MacKenzie and Joe Hallwood, The TEFL Org is established as a market leader, with more qualifications secured than any other provider. Picture: Karen Thorburn
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Jennifer MacKenzie, co-founder of The TEFL Org, said: “Across Europe, in countries such as Spain, we’re seeing the majority of job adverts specifically request that teachers already have the right to work in the country.

“While it is early days and we can’t be sure of the long-term implications of Brexit, it is fair to say that withdrawing from the EU will change the general picture of English language teaching recruitment in Europe.

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“Locality is now becoming a huge factor for employers. It’s easier and cheaper for them to hire workers who are already EU residents; while UK citizens are now competing with a saturated market of teachers from the likes of Canada and Australia.”

She added: said: “While the pandemic did cause many schools to close, it also caused an unprecedented surge in online delivery. That’s simply because online teaching – which was already an expanding area of expertise – makes a person’s home location more often than not, irrelevant.

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“In the last year alone we’ve seen a rise of more than 250 per cent in the sale of online courses and a significant increase in remote teaching opportunities and people looking to teach virtually.

“Objectively, you can see why online teaching appeals to both employees and employers, particularly in the climate of the last year or so. It offers maximum flexibility with minimal hassle.”

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European-based online teaching companies include the likes of Novakid, Lingoda and Learnlight with qualified British EFL teachers also able to work as remote freelancers in countries which offer digital nomad visas.

Further afield, international companies such as US-based Preply also present virtual job opportunities for British citizens teaching English in Europe.

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Brexit aside, other factors, including travel restrictions in place during the pandemic, and the closure of language schools, has forced European employers to take locality into consideration when hiring this year.

A report this year by job platform identified that of all European language schools surveyed, 60 to 100 per cent of all current staff were either already European residents or had applied for permanent residency, with a general consensus that British EFL teachers have been disadvantaged by Brexit.

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Launched from a garden shed in the middle of the 2008 financial crash by founders MacKenzie and Joe Hallwood, The TEFL Org has grown to become a major player in the sector.

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