How Brexit Could Encourage Graduates to Teach English Overseas

06/07/2016 12:28 | Updated 06 July 2016

We've recently come out of a worldwide rescission, only to be greeted with Brexit... And now begins the long negotiation procedure that will inadvertently affect each and every one of us. As the nation asks itself, "What's going to happen to the banks, businesses and manufacturers that threatened to move overseas?" Fears over job prospects have become worse than ever. With the majority of university students and graduates supporting the Remain campaign, it seems that they have every right to feel concerned. After all, while degree holders are generally more employable, graduate life has never been easy!

That said, it's a good job we're British. For we are fortunate enough to be native speakers of one of the world's most spoken languages (and the world's most spoken second language.) Coupled with the UK's ever-expanding ties with the East, having a good grasp of our native tongue comes with plenty of benefits - The British Council estimate that there are over one-and-a-half billion people throughout the world that are eager to learn English. Even now, it's not really a question of "Why aren't there any jobs for graduates?", but more of a question of "Where are the jobs for graduates?"

In recent years many university graduates have been turning to TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) as a career path. According to Rhyan O'Sullivan, director of The TEFL Academy, there has been a 30 percent rise in applications during the last 12 months, with over two thirds of them being graduates who are seeking employment. With the pound taking quite a hit in recent weeks -- instilling even more fear into British citizens -- interest in moving overseas has been increasing; therefore, it will be interesting to see how this trend moves in the coming years.

The Rising East

"Full employment" was once a common political slogan in post-war Britain, and has since been one of the primary aims of government. While the definition will vary between economists, it's generally used to refer to a society that has less than a three percent employment rate, or when the supply (job seekers) is equal to the demand (job openings). The British job market is like a living, breathing organism; one minute it's safe, the next minute it's in danger. Fortunately, teaching English as a foreign language is one of the few genuinely riskless career paths that can almost guarantee employment, regardless of the country's economic situation.

One of the main arguments for Brexit was to expand into the global sector, rather than then stay confined to Europe. If the move is successful there will inevitably be a greater necessity for citizens of foreign countries to learn English (and for British citizens to learn other languages). Boris Johnson, George Osborne and David Cameron have already publicly stated on multiple occasions that schoolchildren should learn Mandarin in favour of French and German in order to seal "tomorrow's business deals." Martin Davidson of the British Council has also stated that "The promotion of Chinese languages in the UK, and the English language in China, are both vital to economic and cultural relations between the two counties." Mandarin has even been given a position as one of the top five most important languages for Britain's future prosperity.

Asia's economic development and global growth has already led to plenty of teaching opportunities in China, South Korea and Japan. With any luck, Brexit will boost ties with the East and provide even more new jobs in the future
The Future

With Britain's inevitable departure from the European Union, upcoming university students could begin assessing options beyond the channel. Perhaps making a last-ditch attempt to secure a position on the Erasmus Programme or move abroad while freedom of movement is still an option, especially after Teresa May admitted that the "future of EU citizens living in the UK is uncertain". In two years time (assuming article 50 will be implemented this year) graduates may not have the chance. Fortunately, teaching English as a foreign language will always be an option, especially if the global agenda of the Leave camp kicks into action and new trade deals are secured.