When Magdalena Horczynska first moved to the UK from Poland she really struggled to find work. After completing a CELTA course part time, however, she has been able to get flexible work as a teacher to people whose first language is not English.
Magdalena did her CELTA [Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages] course at City and Islington College in London. The Government has recently granted a loan for those doing the advanced course, giving career changers the opportunity to apply for financial support to help them complete the course at a college or training provider in England.
CELTA, which is provided by Cambridge English Language Assessment (Cambridge English), part of the University of Cambridge, is an internationally regarded TEFL qualification. Based on an intensive four-week course it gives individuals the core skills needed to succeed in the classroom, blending both theory and authentic teaching practice with real language learners.
Under the new loan scheme, eligible individuals can apply for funding of up to £1,417 and loans do not have to be repaid until the course has been completed and the person is earning more than a specified amount.
There are estimated to be more than 26,000 jobs in English language teaching in the UK.
CELTA can be taken as a full-time course, a part-time course or online as a blended learning course, which combines online self-study with hands-on teaching practice.
There are over 40 CELTA centres in England that accept Advanced Learner Loans. Cambridge English says the qualification is valued by employers around the world – including English language schools, ministries of education and employers such as the British Council.
Magdalena says she had always had an interest in teaching and that CELTA stood out for her over other qualifications available because it is widely recognisable across Europe, particularly in Poland. She says: “In addition to the doors CELTA opens abroad, there are a lot of potential job opportunities in the UK, especially amongst the London communities where there is still a huge demand for English teachers.”
She was unemployed at the time she enrolled which meant the course fees would have been a real issue, but, thanks to the Advanced Learner Loan, she was able to change career.
It was also very flexible. She says: “As I am a full-time mum, it was very important that I could fit my life around CELTA and its requirements. The course offered by City and Islington College proved to be demanding but rewarding at the same time. I enrolled on a part-time basis, which meant I attended the college for one day a week, over 19 weeks. With some childcare support from my family, I managed to fit my studying easily around my life.”
She now works part time and in her spare time she uses her new skills to do ESOL tutoring with two students. She says: “This is helping to build up my experience whilst I look for more teaching opportunities. I’m certain that the CELTA qualification will help me develop my teaching career in the UK and abroad – maybe even back home in Poland!”