New Zealand Certificate in English Language

Free course for New Zealand residents and citizens. Study part time and gain a formal English qualification.

Part-time, one year course
Formal NZQA qualification
Pathway to further study or work

New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL)

The New Zealand Certificate in English Language (NZCEL) is a formal qualification for adult learners of English as an additional language. NZCEL is a qualification approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

You can study NZCEL at different levels (Foundation Level and Levels 1-5).

English Language Partners currently offers NZCEL Level 1 at four English Language Partners Centres in New Zealand.

NZCEL Level 1

NZCEL Level 1 is a 60-credit qualification, taking you from elementary-level English to pre-intermediate-level English after graduating.  

At English Language Partners, our course is specifically designed for resident migrant and former refugee learners. It equips you with the English language skills to settle, work and succeed in New Zealand.  

After completing NZCEL Level 1, you will be able to speak, read, write, listen to and understand simple, everyday English that is relevant to you and your daily life.

Course content

NZCEL Level1 has two modules. Module A is called "Daily Life" and Module B is called "Work and Community".

Module A: Daily Life

Topics include family, health, house and shopping.

  • Introduce yourself: Learn how to tell people about yourself and your life.
  • Listen to instructions: Understand spoken instructions from other people.
  • Write emails and letters: Write simple messages and letters for everyday needs.
  • Fill out forms: Learn how to put your personal information into forms correctly.
  • Read everyday labels and signs: Read and understand information on medicine and food labels, on traffic and other everyday signs.

Module B: Work and Community  

Topics include living in NZ, education and work.

  • Talk in simple conversations: Learn to speak about familiar topics in your daily life.
  • Listen and understand: Improve your listening skills in everyday situations.
  • Write about everyday topics: Write short texts about things you see or do every day.
  • Read simple texts: Learn to read and understand straightforward texts you find at work or in the community.

Course length and times

Couse Length

NZCEL Level 1 is a part-time course. You will study English for one year made up of four terms. Each term is nine weeks long.

Week starting Week ending
Term 3 Monday 29 July 2024 Friday 27 September 2024
Term 4 Monday 14 October 2024 Friday 13 December 2024

Course dates for 2025 will be available soon.  

Weekly classes

You will study for 16 hours each week, made up of 12 hours of face-to-face classes with a teacher and approximately 4 hours of self-study at home.  

Classes are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 2.00pm. There are no classes during school holidays.

Cost and eligibility

NZCEL Level 1 is fees free for eligible New Zealand residents and citizens.

You are eligible if:

  • You are a New Zealand citizen or resident living in New Zealand.
  • You are 16 years or older.
  • English is not your first language.
  • You have an elementary (basic) level of English.  

How to enrol

Step 1: We offer NZCEL Level 1 at four English Language Partners Centres around New Zealand. Decide which location is best for you:

Step 2: Check the eligibility criteria.

Step 3: If you are eligible, complete the online enquiry form or contact your nearest Centre.  

Step 4: Our team will contact you and arrange a time for you to visit us. We will help you find the best class for you.

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Can I learn English online with English Language Partners?

You can learn online if:

  • you live in New Zealand
  • are a resident or citizen of New Zealand
  • speak English as a second language
  • are 16 years or older and not attending school
  • we have a course that meets your needs

We will talk to you about the courses available.

You cannot learn online if you are on a temporary visa such as a:

  • Working holiday visa
  • Visitor/tourist visa
  • Student visa

How long are courses?

Our courses vary in length. It depends on the course. Many are 8 weeks, others can vary between 2 and 18 weeks long.

How much does it cost?

Our online courses are free to residents and citizens.

Can I study after work?

Yes. We have courses for people who work during the day and want to study in the evening.

What will I learn?

You will learn the English you need to live independently in New Zealand. Our courses help people with daily life, finding work, and future study. We will help you communicate in Kiwi English. You can also learn about Kiwi culture.

Can I study for the IELTS test?

Yes. In some centres. We sometimes offer online IELTS classes too.

What level are classes?

All levels. Courses are from beginner to advanced levels. We assess your level before placing you in a course. If a course at your level is not immediately available, we will place you on a class waitlist.

Can I study grammar?

Yes. Some courses have a specific grammar focus. Other courses include grammar as part of the course content.

How many hours each week are courses?

Most of our courses are part-time. Some are two hours each week, other courses are longer – up to 10 hours. You can join more than one class.

My computer system isn’t very good – can I join?

You need a reliable internet connection, a camera and a microphone.

About English Language Partners

We have 21 centres and teach over 7,000 students in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our English courses help people feel welcome and settle into everyday life and work here.

We are not-for-profit, and all our courses are free or low cost for former refugees and migrants.

Kaimo Jiao


The teacher is exceptional and did not (only) teach us specific knowledge, she taught us how to fish. This kind of style of teaching reformed my previous way of learning English.

Pro Kiwi Ltd


We have seen a huge improvement in speaking English during work practice, and our employees have really enjoyed their lessons. The end result has been excellent.

Kaimo Jiao


The teacher is exceptional and did not (only) teach us specific knowledge, she taught us how to fish. This kind of style of teaching reformed my previous way of learning English.

Jino George


The course was very useful. The teacher's attitude and inspiration motivated me to learn English. I decided to work hard to improve my language, which is a barrier in the communication. I learnt the importance of stress, intonation and language functions which helped me to improve my pronunciation. I would like to join in her class anytime if I get a chance.😊

Viktoriia Mikhyeyeva


I was lucky to get to your Road Code course. Migrants need a driver licence so much, but the language barrier prevents them. Thanks to you, anyone can get a driver's licence easily.

Polina Belenitskaia


If I hadn't taken your Road Code courses, I wouldn't have gotten my driver licence for another million years. After your lessons, it turned out to be very simple, in 10 minutes I got my first driver' licence in my life!

Pa Teauarai


It made me want to learn more so I can teach my kids English. I share my homework with them too.

Xu Huang


Learning English at English Language Partners makes me more confident and more positive.

Roger Feng


Now I have local topics I can talk with others, and I like reading the local news. I feel like I am part of it.

Nor Aini


Before I can't speak English, and now I can speak a little bit, because my teacher is a very nice teacher and she understands me for everything.

Anggi Putri


I really love my life now compared to before I started learning English. My life improving a lot in many aspect. I can do everything I want without any worried about communicate in English.

New Zealand Certificate in English Language

Part-time one year course, formal NZQA qualification, pathway to further study or work.

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New Zealand Certificate in English Language