Keyword Education Elite-graduate Programme FAQ

About KEEP

Can you tell me more about your organisation and What is KEEP?

We are a London based international education consultancy, focusing on Sino-British cultural exchange and language training services. Keyword Education is a well-known education corporation in the sector of English Education for young learners in China. Founded in the UK in 2007, our headquarter is now based in Shenzhen, China. We dedicate ourselves to ESL Teaching, Overseas Study and other International Education Programmes.

KEEP is a 12 months + 12 months program which is designed for talented and adventurous graduates who would like to take the unusual but highly rewarding challenge to kick-off their career as a practising teacher in China.

As an English teacher for our kids and teens, you will be joining one of our 23 teaching centres to teach and practise oral English with young learners aged from 3-16 years old with a maximum class size of 10 students. You will give direct impact and inspirations to our youngsters while exercising your presentation and management skills.

When should I apply for the Keep? Is there any opening or closing dates?

Our programme has three intakes every year, in Spring, Summer and Autumn. There is no specific opening or closing date, but in general for each intake it opens 9 months ahead and closes 3 months ahead of the intake period. For instance, if you are planning to enrol in the 2019 June intake, it is most ideal to submit your application from September 2018 and no later than March 2019. Following this principle, you can then work out an ideal application time for your desired intake.

I am not available now, but I would like to teach in China next year. When should I apply for the job?

Please see the answers to the question " When should I apply for the KEEP" above, if you worry about missing the placement in your prefererred intake, you can always register your interest with us and indicate your preferred intake, and you will be firstly contacted when we are ready to process the application of your chosen intake.

Is this programme only for the graduates?

This programme is for the graduates and any candidates aged under 30, who has no teaching experience and is willing to receive systematic training to further develop themselves as an experienced teacher or other related profession.

How many graduates are you looking to recruit?

We have limited vacancy for KEEP programme, which is only 30 for each intake.

What can I expect after completing the KEEP programme?

You will have developed plenty soft skills during the programme such as communication, leadership and teamwork for your future career, especially in presenting a strong background as a ESL teacher.

How long is the contract? Can I have a short-term contract with you?

You will receive a 12-month contract as a full-time teacher in the KEEP programme. After the completion of the first 12-months, you can choose to stay within the programme or opt out.

We only work on a 12-month contract basis, which is advised to be a reasonable time for new starters to overcome the learning curve and settle in the new environment to fully enjoy their teaching life with us. It also benefits us to manage and stabilise the workforce flow.

If I have further questions, who can I speak to?

You can always send us an email anytime to inquire about the post.


I do not have an education degree, and I have not got experience in teaching. Is that OK?

To be qualified for the job, you need to hold a Bachelor's degree or above from an English speaking country, but the teaching experience is optional.

If I am not successful this time round, could I reapply?

No, unfortunately you can only apply once for the programme.

I have already graduated; can I still apply?

Yes, this programme is for the graduates and any candidates aged under 30, who has no teaching experience and is willing to receive more training and further develop themselves as an experienced teacher or other related profession.

Besides my academic qualifications, what else will I need in my application?

You do not need other qualifications besides a Bachelor's degree and a passport from a native speaking country for your application.

I am excited to join – how long do I wait until I start?

The candidates for KEEP scheme mostly start in February, June and October every year, but the exact starting date is subject to the work visa application process.

Do I need to be able to speak any Mandarin?

No, you do not have to. If you are interested in learning the language, we do run workshops for our foreign teachers.

Do I need to apply for a hardcopy of TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate?

Yes, it is necessary for you to have an original physical copy of your TEFL certificate as it is required during the visa application process, but it is not compulsory during the job application stage. Once you are selected to join the programme, our team will support you to acquire a TEFL certificate for visa application purpose. If you already have a TEFL certificate as a digital version, please request an original physical copy from the institution that awarded your TEFL certificate.


What happens once I have sent my application?

You will receive a confirmation email once your application is submitted successfully. If successful, one of our recruitment team members will invite you for a skype video interview within 5 working days. Due to the high volume of the application, if you do not hear from us within 5 working days, it means your application is unsuccessful.

How many interviews will I have?And what happens in the interviews?

The entire recruitment process includes two interviews. For the initial interview, it is a chance for both of candidate and company to know more about each other. During the second interview, we will assess your teaching or potential teaching ability by case study and doing activities based on your previous teaching/working experience.

Can I apply with a friend?

Yes, you are more than welcomed to apply with friends or partner. And please let us know so that friends and partners can be assigned together.

How long is the visa process from beginning to end?

If you are required to obtain a TEFL (or equivalent) certificate, it normally takes you up to 6 weeks to complete the course. After that, it generally takes up to 4 weeks to collect all the necessary documents for working permit application. Once complete, you should expect further 8 weeks to acquire a working permit and working visa.

The diagram below is a general guidance of the average time required from the moment you submit your job application to the point you land your feet in China. (Time may vary depending on your personal situation)

Why is my work visa single entry and only valid for 3 months?

No worries, you have got the right visa. When you arrive in China, you are going to apply another document called Residence Permit, which will allow you stay in China for 6-12 months and enter and exit China with no limit. Just a kind reminder, please do not plan any trip abroad before you get the Residence Permit, or your visa will become invalid once you exit China. For your information, 500-750RMB of health check and 500RMB of residence permit application fee will incur for applying residence permit. Both will be reimbursed upon the contract completion within the allowance.


Will I be doing a single role during the whole programme?

Yes, you will be focusing on the teaching role during the programme.

How is my progress monitored?

There will be a regular evaluation on the teachers’ performance in different stages by the supervisors and will be based on the students and parents feedback as well.

Can I choose which cities or school centres I work in?

Currently you can only join the KEEP programme in Shenzhen, China, which is the Headquarter of Keyword Education. We are unable to tell the specific language center that you will be working at as it depends on your starting date and position availability. However, all our centres are easy to find and close to public transport links.

What training will I receive?

You will receive comprehensive training on teaching and other crucial professional skills such as communication, teamwork, leadership.

Can I work towards professional qualifications?

Yes, for example, you can apply for the TESOL qualification after accumulating more teaching experience.

Can I move around within Keyword Education company?

Yes, after working for one year in our headquarters in Shenzhen, you can apply to work in other Keyword teaching centres in other cities in China if a vacancy is available there.

Do you offer Mandarin lessons before departure?

We offer free mandarin lessons after you arrive in China and start your work. Before your departure, we offer an online training more specifically on teaching English to children in China, which includes a session of an introduction to Chinese and Chinese culture.

Will you provide the teaching materials?

Yes. We use Pearson Backpack and Pockets textbooks, as well as materials published by Oxford and National Geographic. However, we are also developing new materials to further support our Teachers.

How many students will I have to teach in a class?

No more than 10 students in the class.

How are the students' level work?

Students will be put in classes based on two things: their age and their English oral level.
We will give each student a placement test to check their level of oral English, as well as an element of written English also. After that, we will allocate them to the right class based on the result and their current age. Normally this means that .3-4 year olds will be in a level 1 class, 4-5 year olds will be in a level 2 class, and 5-6 year olds will be in a level 3 class, etc.

How long is each class?

Classes will be between 45 to 90 minutes depending on the nature and location of the class being taught.

Where do the schools and libraries locate?

All of our schools are located in central areas of the districts. So it is easy and convenient for teachers to get to.

Will I have an assistant to help me in class?

For young age groups, 3-5 years old, you will have a local teacher as your assistant during classes. For older students, 6 and above, we do not provide assistant except in exceptional circumstances.

Will there be parents in the class?

Occasionally Teachers will need to undertake demonstration and open classes for fee-paying parents as well as regular classes for existing students. Otherwise, parents are not allowed to enter the classroom for classes unless it is a demonstration or open class (open classes are run every three months for parents to witness their child’s learning progress). Parent’s may also be permitted to enter if their child is very young and is distressed about being in a classroom environment which is new and unfamiliar to them.


What is the salary?

The starting basic salary is 13,500RMB per month before tax during the probation period for the first three months. After that, subject to your performance your salary will be increased to 14,000RMB per month before tax.

Furthermore, by joining the KEEP programme, you are entitled to a one-off complimentary bonus of 3000RMB after pass the probationary period successfully.

How much tax do I have to pay?

The government charges tax based on your total amount of salary. For foreigners working in China, your tax-free personal allowance is higher than local citizen’s allowance. Let’s say if your payment is 12000-18000RMB per month, the monthly tax rate will be around 10-15%.

Besides, you do not have to calculate the tax on your own. Our company accountants will apply the tax to you.

Do I pay for my own flight to China? How does the reimbursement work?

The reimbursement amount is 10,000RMB in total which can include all your pre-departure costs related to working visa, e.g. apostille cost, criminal record check cost, visa fee, etc.

We offer ‘Help Buy’ scheme for graduates to buy the first outbound flight ticket. You will receive a detailed document regarding the ‘Help Buy’ scheme policy with the successful offer letter.

Are there any additional expenses?

There is no additional charge from the company end. In general the expenses you will be responsible for are costs for documents preparation and visa application, all of which will be reimbursed within the 10,000RMB reimbursement allowance subject to your contract completion.

Do you provide free accommodation?

Yes, all the teachers in KEEP scheme will be provided with first three months' free accommodation in a single studio. From the fourth month, you will receive 2000RMB living allowance every month.


What kind of visa do I need to acquire?

You must obtain a Z-working visa to work legally in China for teaching English.

What do I need to wear in class?

You will be given two T-shirts as uniform when you arrive in China. It is required to wear them at all times during working hours. There is no specific requirement on bottoms or footwear. However, we do suggest teachers wear comfortable clothes so that movement will not be restricted.

Do I need a Chinese bank account? How do I open one?

Yes, once you got the resident permit in China, you are required to open a bank account with Agricultural Bank of China (ABC). Your monthly salary is paid exclusively through ABC. You can ask your Chinese colleagues to accompany you to any ABC local branch for opening the account.

What is the living cost in Shenzhen?

You can find this information in our blog here.

What insurance will I have when I work in China?

From 2018, Keyword Education provide all foreign ESL teachers with a comprehensive insurance plan including life insurance and medical insurance, which can cover accident and medical treatment. All the insurance costs are paid by the Employer.