Language Assistants (Native Speakers)

We run paid and volunteer programs to place language assistants in schools.

Language assistants are:

  • native speakers of the target language – Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese or Spanish
  • recent university graduates in their home country, sometimes with education-related studies
  • proficient in English
  • placed in schools for up to 12 months

Language assistants program

The language assistants program places native speakers of French, German, Indonesian, and Spanish in Victorian government schools for a full school year.

Assistants are part-time (0.8 time) and are usually hosted by a cluster of schools. These assistants are paid as education support staff and are responsible for their own accommodation. However, schools provide support in finding temporary or longer-term accommodation if required.

Assistants to teachers of Japanese program (ATJP)

The Department works with partner universities in Japan to identify Japanese graduates for placement as volunteer language assistants in Victorian government schools. Assistants are placed in schools for either 9 or 12 months from the start of Term 2 each year.

Host schools are responsible for organising homestay accommodation and paying the assistant a weekly stipend to cover incidentals during the placement.

Applications for 2018 ATJP are now open. For details, including school guidelines and application form, see:

Assistants to teachers of Chinese program (ATCP)

The assistants to teachers of chinese program places Chinese language assistants in schools for a full school year beginning in term 1. The Department works with the Chinese Consulate General of the People's Republic in Melbourne and The Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) in Beijing, to source graduates from Chinese universities to be placed in schools to support the learning of Chinese language and culture.

Host schools are responsible for providing homestay accommodation for the assistant. The assistants are provided with a monthly stipend by Hanban during their placement.

Applications for 2018 ATCP are now open. For details, including school guidelines and application form, see:

Tertiary student assistants

The University of Melbourne offers schools experience as breadth subject which provides tertiary students including students with an intermediate level of communicative competence or higher in Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, French, German, or Italian a placement of up to 20 hours in a Victorian school.

The school placement is supplemented by university-based workshops providing insight into the Victorian school system, contemporary approaches to teaching and learning, and an understanding of the role of tertiary student assistants in supporting school based programs. For more information, see School experience as breadth


Schools may wish to use volunteer parents, community members or former students to support their languages programs. As well as complying with the Department's policy for volunteer workers, schools should ensure that any volunteer providing support for a languages program has an appropriate level of cultural understanding and proficiency in the language, including formal education, in Australia or in a country where the language is spoken.

For more information about the Department's policy for volunteer workers, see Volunteer checks

Language assistant background

Assistants support qualified language teachers in the development and delivery of a school's languages program. They are not a replacement for a qualified languages teacher. Schools must have a qualified languages teacher in the school delivering an existing language program to be eligible for the allocation of a language assistant.

Language assistants can share contemporary knowledge of the language and culture, and provide opportunities for languages teachers and students to increase their fluency and confidence in the target language. They provide assistance with both written and spoken forms of the language and promote an understanding of the language and culture across the broader school community.

Language assistants may be allocated to single schools or clusters.