Workers rethinking their career options in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis are turning to new opportunities for teaching English as a foreign language.
This has led to renewed interest in Inverness-based language teaching provider The TEFL Org, which has seen a 250% increase in its virtual classroom courses and on-demand online courses, over a third of its graduates having chosen to start their courses. because they wanted to change careers.
Company co-founder Jennifer MacKenzie said: “We are seeing a massive increase in the number of people looking to start a career in TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) which has been driven by the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives.
“Those who may not have been able to follow a passion for teaching due to travel restrictions or time constraints, and especially those who have found themselves unemployed, can now do so from home. We can transmit our courses to students all over the world. »
One professional who moved on was Yvonne Beckles, who worked for the local tourist board in Bath in Somerset before she was made redundant during the pandemic.
Having previously studied French and German at the University of Glasgow, she completed an accredited 120 hour course with The TEFL Org in 12 weeks before starting her teaching career.
She expected to continue working in the tourism industry until her retirement, but in 2020 she was first laid off and then fired due to the impact of the pandemic on the sector.
“I didn’t know what I would do next, because all I really knew was the tourism industry, and the future was looking bleak,” she said.
“A chance conversation with a friend got me thinking about TEFL and decided to look into it. I had never taught a language before, but had trained staff and lectured to students in tourism.
“Even though I was a bit discouraged by the prospect of going back to school after so many years, I really enjoyed the course, and it feels good to be doing something positive and keeping my brain active after my layoff. .”
Through The TEFL Org, Yvonne then got a job with a company teaching English online to elementary school students in China. Recent legislative changes in the country mean Yvonne is hoping for further opportunities with the online business, but she continues to teach 40 students each week from the comfort of her own home in Bath.
“A year ago, if someone had told me that I would be teaching English to children overseas in the future, I would have told them they were crazy, but here I am, enjoying the challenges and satisfaction that each class brings,” she added. .
“The saying goes, ‘when one door closes, another opens’ and in my case that’s true. I lost a job that I loved, and I’m so lucky to have found another one.
The TEFL Org, which started life in a garden shed after the 2008 financial crash and is now a global leader in TEFL accreditation, also found that 29% of people had taken a TEFL course to improve their CV. And it found there was a slight increase in undergraduate and postgraduate degree holders from 2019 seeking a qualification.
The company saw 81% revenue growth from 2019 to 2020 and continues to grow globally.