Business


Business

Business Brunch 2017 events webpage now live!

25 April 2017 (SCILT)

A series of five successful Business Brunch events organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland took place this year where 535 learners from S3-S6 were given the opportunity to hear from a wide range of exciting business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The events demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

Find out more about the events on our new Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

21 April 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from David Rodger, Area Manager at Amazon Germany. He tells how people engage with you and realise you're on their side if you demonstrate the willingness to understand their language and culture.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

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Biscuits galore!

20 April 2017 (CISS)

For some S2 pupils from Elgin Academy, the term began with a busy and exciting visit to Walkers Shortbread HQ in Aberlour, Moray.

The pupils have been studying Mandarin since January with the support of the Hanban teacher Sufang Wang and under the guidance of Jerome Lestienne, PT of Modern Languages. The pupils presented to members of the International team from Walkers and the HR team. The presentations reflected what they had learnt so far, which included simple greetings, some numbers (and how to express numbers with hand gestures) and explanations of what is peculiar to the Chinese language such as learning tones, characters, etc.

The presentations also incorporated advice on effective “dos and don’ts” of Chinese Business Etiquette. These were well received by the International Team, who later explained they are increasingly doing business with China. It is now one of the top ten countries with whom they deal and in the near future will be opening an office in Shanghai.

Pupils were judged on presentation skills, clarity of delivery, content, structure and language skills. (The latter were judged by members from CISS and the Hanban teacher.) The winning group were generously rewarded with a prize and all pupils left with a goodie bag.

Pupils were asked questions by the team regarding how they found learning Chinese. They replied they had found it interesting and were grateful to have the chance to learn some Chinese whilst at school.

The Director of the International Team thanked them for the useful and stimulating presentations. He highlighted the fact that future employees with such knowledge would be most welcome for the company to employ.
Walkers' staff enjoying the presentationElgin Academy pupils presenting

All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

19 April 2017 (News Talk)

(Applies to Ireland) All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister.

The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert students studying a foreign language by 10%.

Chinese will be introduced as a Leaving Cert subject for the first time, while so-called 'heritage languages' such as Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese will get a proper curriculum.

Speaking to Pat Kenny, Minister Richard Bruton explained: "We are going to have to, post-Brexit, realise that one of the common weaknesses of English speaking countries - that we disregard foreign languages - has to be addressed in Ireland.

"We need now to trade in the growth areas - and many of those speak Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. Those are the languages that we need to learn to continue to trade successfully."

On the subject of Eastern European languages, he observed: "We now have many Lithuanians and Polish here, and we can develop those languages.

"We also need to use programmes like Erasmus - we want to increase our participation there by 50%. Clearly it has to become more immersed in the language.

"At the moment if you look at Leaving Cert and Junior Cert, French dominates. French is a lovely language, but we need to recognise that we need to diversify into other languages."

Read more...

Prepare British children for life after Brexit – teach them another language

10 April 2017 (The Conversation)

The formal negotiations to untangle the UK from the intricacies of the European Union are now well underway. And it is clear that looking forward, Britain’s new relationship with the EU will necessitate conducting trade and political communications in a new dynamic – one which is unlikely to be done in the medium of English.

When the UK leaves the EU there will be no member state remaining where English is the lead official language. “Ah”, you say, “what about Ireland, they speak English there”. Yes they do, but in Ireland, Irish Gaelic is considered the first official language.

So to trade with the EU, the UK will need high-level negotiators fluent in German, French and Spanish, which it currently does not have.

Additionally, leaving the EU will result in a restriction of immigrants from across EU member states. The need for visas will drastically reduce the number of workers who can come to the UK to fill jobs British people are either unwilling or unable to do.

And recognising this gap, the Foreign and Common Wealth office and the Ministry of Defence have opened in-house training centres to provide lessons in up to 80 different languages for their staff.

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Why Britain's monolingualism could be costly for the nation

5 April 2017 (World Economic Forum)

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it has a huge number of considerations to ensure its economy prospers. One, which is perhaps overlooked, is Britain’s language policy and how important this is as an economic resource. A strategic language policy and the cultivation of language experts in post-Brexit Britain are essential if it wants to connect with fresh markets overseas.

This has long been a feature of international diplomacy – stretching back long before globalisation as we know it. All the big powers of the Old World depended on understanding other people’s languages to trade across cultures. A “modern” solution was found in Babylonia, an ancient commercial metropolitan hub in the Near East, where a polyglot community of traders came together from the Mediterranean, Persia and Turkey, and beyond.

There are accounts of King Hammurabi deftly exploiting his city’s growing cultural mix as a resource in the 1790s BC. He used bilingual foreign traders as cross-cultural brokers. With their language skills, they played a key role in facilitating long-range trade with distant markets.

One of the biggest challenges facing the UK economy now is a skills shortage. Although funding is promised to support technical skills training, UK business also requires professionals with language skills to achieve sales in fresh markets. These experts will need to speak the languages of trading partners and understand the cultures of new overseas contacts to negotiate and seal deals. Investment in this crucial soft skill is needed.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

31 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a selection of job profiles on our website demonstrating languages being used in a wide range of professions.

Our latest addition comes from Jane Robb, PhD student at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich. Jane has studied several languages, including French, German and Spanish and says her Spanish language skills enable her to conduct fieldwork and live and work in Guatemala.

Teachers use our profiles in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

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British business will need its foreign language speakers

22 March 2017 (FT)

Theresa May will trigger Article 50 on March 29, but much of UK business has no idea what Brexit will mean for them. During discussions in the past few weeks, I have heard of financial services companies applying for licences in EU countries in case they need to move some of their operations there. But most businesses are watching and waiting to assess what comes out of the negotiations.

There is one thing many companies are sure of: they cannot manage without their EU staff. It is not just the numbers of EU nationals working in many industries. Some companies are also desperate to hold on to the languages those citizens speak.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Lynn Sheppard, Masters Student and travel writer, former English teacher, diplomat and civil servant.

Lynn tells how languages have not only helped in all her diverse job roles, but in developing and maintaining personal and professional relationships around the globe. Language skills have given her a cultural insight into how others think and behave.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

10 March 2017 (SCILT)

We have a range of Job Profiles on our website designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from Kirsten Matthews, a Distillery Tour Guide and Public Service Interpreter. Kirsten tells us her language skills make it possible for her to perform a service and to help people in her roles.

You can see Kirsten's profile on our website.

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From busuu to Babble, language-learning startups adapt to thrive

7 March 2017 (The Guardian)

Language learning is big business. Each year, students coming to study English in the UK contribute £2bn to the economy. It’s also a market suited to the flexibility of mobile learning and, sure enough, language learning apps are seeking to fill the gaps – more than 350 are listed on the Apple App Store alone.

But language tech isn’t an easy space in which to succeed. Rapid changes in technology have meant that its startups have had to adapt to survive, as Bernhard Niesner, co-founder of busuu, can attest.

Originally from Austria, Niesner had always loved languages: he learned Spanish and travelled in Latin America before undertaking an MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid. There he met Adrian Hilti, originally from Switzerland. It was 2008, Facebook was expanding rapidly, and the two wondered if they could combine technology and learning a language with social media.

So busuu, named after a Cameroonian language, was born, teaching users with interactive courses coupled with a social network of native speakers.

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New Job Profile on the SCILT website

3 March 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Sandie Robb, Senior Education Officer for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

Working on conservation projects around the globe, Sandie explains how knowing even a little of a language is respectable and polite when working with colleagues worldwide.

Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Lazy monolinguals will hurt your business: The compelling case for bringing language learning into the workplace

27 February 2017 (CityA.M.)

The UK’S future relationship with Europe is far from certain. With many of Brexit’s economic consequences still panning out, it is a good time to reflect on how the UK can maintain a global trading edge after its exit from the EU.

In this respect, post-Brexit UK companies would do well to embrace foreign languages as a matter of urgency in order to cement the creation of effective cultural and business relationships with prospective EU and non-EU trading partners.

While English is undoubtedly one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and largely used as the lingua franca in corporate diplomacy, I believe that a lack of intercultural and language competence on the UK’s part could jeopardise the future global standing and prosperity of its businesses.

As former German Chancellor Willy Brandt put it over 40 years ago: “if I am selling to you, I speak your language. If I am buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen”. Indeed, multilingual businesses are proven to benefit from richer interactions between partners, employees, suppliers and customers as well as increased sales and return on investment. It also offers a significant edge on the competition by enabling a wider customer and client base.

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New student profile on SCILT's website

24 February 2017 (SCILT)

We have a range of Job Profiles on our website designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from Emma Therer, a student of German and Linguistics, whose aim is to become a translator and interpreter. She believes languages are key in getting to know people and to learn about other cultures.

Read her profile and others on our website now.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 February 2017 (SCILT)

For relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace, read our latest Job Profile from Katie Targett-Adams, a professional singer and harpist currently based in Hong Kong. Teachers, use this resource in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

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Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce

14 February 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from eleven schools across the north east of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen on 9 February 2017. 116 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event gave learners the opportunity to engage with local employers and discover the relevance of language skills here, in their local area. Pupils were able to see that they might even need a language that is not taught at their school, but the skills they develop whilst learning any language are transferable and therefore valuable.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I learnt that no matter what career you pursue, it can be very useful to be able to speak a different language. It can broaden your horizons.”

Virginie Jégat from TOTAL E&P UK LIMITED and one of the workshop leaders stated: “Here at TOTAL E&P UK we see on a daily basis the benefit of languages in the workplace. The ability to speak another language adds huge value to the business experience, whilst increasing cultural understanding within the workforce and towards our clients.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Aberdeen City Council, University of Aberdeen, The Chester Hotel, China-Britain Business Council, VisitScotland, TOTAL E&P UK LIMITED and Scottish Dance Theatre. Schools represented were Banchory Academy, Banff Academy, Buckie High School, Dyce Academy, Harlaw Academy, Hazlehead Academy, Inverurie Academy, Meldrum Academy, Mintlaw Academy, Peterhead Academy and The Gordon Schools.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

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Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Edinburgh

7 February 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from 14 schools across Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh on 30 January 2017. 140 learners from S3 to S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Pupils are much more engaged in language learning as a result of attending the event. They are now aware of the relevance of language skills in the wider world. The speakers really brought to life the things we emphasise in class and showed them how languages are important.”

One of the young people added to this, and commented: “I learnt that languages are important and can help your career in lots of different ways. It was inspiring to discover the range of careers involving languages and to hear real life experiences of languages in the workplace.”

Sonia Valcarcel from VisitScotland, one of the workshop leaders, stated: “Speaking another language made me free to travel around the world, meet amazing people and work in some great jobs within the tourism sector. I would encourage all the young people attending today to consider language skills seriously when planning for their future.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Asia Scotland Institute, VisitScotland, National Galleries Scotland, National Library of Scotland, GlobalScot and China-Britain Business Council. Schools represented were Armadale Academy, Dalbeattie High School, Dunfermline High School, Eastwood High School, Greenfaulds High School, Kelso High School, Larbert High School, Lornshill Academy, Newbattle Community High School, Preston Lodge High School, St Modan's High School, St Ninian's High School, Trinity Academy and Whitburn Academy.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

More information on SCILT’s 2017 Business Brunches.

Why multilingualism is good for economic growth

3 February 2017 (The Conversation)

'If your strategy is to trade only with people that speak English that’s going to be a poor strategy.'

Top US economist Larry Summers recently tweeted this in relation to America’s focus on its so-called special relationship with the UK. And he’s right. The economic impact on the US – or any other country – that closes off its trade barriers with countries that are different to it would be enormous.

Language matters on a large-scale national level and at the level of smaller businesses.

Read more...

Josh Martin, student of Psychology & German and part-time racing driver

3 February 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from student and part-time racing driver, Josh Martin, who appreciates how languages are key in helping him communicate with fans around the world and in negotiating sponsorship deals.

Read his profile and others on our website now.

Read more...

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Inverness

31 January 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from ten schools across the north of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Kingsmill Hotel, Inverness on 25 January 2017. 90 learners from S3 and S4 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event has highlighted to learners the variety of benefits of having another language. It also gave them a real insight into how other people, aside from teachers, use languages in their jobs.”

One of the young people added to this, and commented: “The quality of speakers was brilliant and the event made me understand how my language skills really are important. I know now that I should seriously consider carrying on with them next year.”

Iain Hamilton, Head of Creative Industries at Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the keynote speaker, stated: “Our work is based on creating networks of people who can work together to achieve more. Making an effort to speak to partners in their own languages, even if it is limited, helps to create trust and a much more productive relationship. It’s a sign of willingness to make a real partnership.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included HIE Creative Industries, XpoNorth Music, Scottish Football Association, National Trust for Scotland (Culloden Battlefield), The Tomatin Distillery Co Ltd, GlobalScot, and DIAGEO Glen Ord Distillery. Schools represented were Alness Academy, Dingwall Academy, Farr High School, Fortrose Academy, Keith Grammar School, Kingussie High School, Millburn Academy, Plockton High School, Thurso High School and Ullapool High School.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

More information on SCILT’s 2017 Business Brunches.

New Job Profile on SCILT's website

27 January 2017 (SCILT)

Inspire the future generation with relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace via the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from modern languages teacher, Olivia Ingleby, who tells how language skills helped her discover new places, cultures and the varied opportunities that brought prior to becoming a languages teacher.

Read more...

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Dundee

24 January 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from eight schools across Tayside and Fife had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of Dundee on 18 January 2017. 70 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event has given my pupils real food for thought. Before, I think most of them would have said that you would only really use languages in teaching or translating. However, having heard from the different speakers, they have realised very quickly that languages are used for much more than that.”

One of the young people added to this, and commented: “The event today showed me that, even if you haven’t specialised in language study, for example getting a degree in a modern language, there is still a high chance you will end up using language skills in a small or large part of your job and that knowing a language can open up many more opportunities.”

Dawn Hartley from Scottish Dance Theatre, one of the workshop leaders, stated: “Our dancers come from all over the world, and our choreographers too. We travel to many different countries so we’re constantly grateful for all the various language skills our staff have – we always need them!”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages as part of a series of cross-sector partnership activities with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Michelin, Valentine International Business Connections LLP, Scottish Dance Theatre, Tokheim Ltd, Outplay Entertainment Ltd and University of Dundee. Schools represented were Brechin High School, Bell Baxter High School, Harris Academy, Montrose Academy, Morrison’s Academy, Webster's High School, Craigie High School and Braeview Academy.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Marion Spöring, Chair of UCML Scotland added: “The learning of languages is not only fun, but also essential for future employment opportunities of our young people in Scotland. Languages set the foundation for varied careers, for future engineers as well as artists and in tourism, to name but a few.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

More information on SCILT’s 2017 Business Brunches.

Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce - Business Brunch launch

23 January 2017 (SCILT)

Young people from thirteen schools across the west of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses in the first of a series of Business Brunch events, held at University of Strathclyde on 13 January 2017. 130 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The event demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “Today’s event was a fantastic opportunity. It has given my pupils a deeper appreciation that language learning is not just about the words but that being able to speak a language can break down so many barriers in so many different ways, including our own perceptions of people and countries.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I learned that cultural awareness and language skills are an important aspect of day-to-day business and also important to bigger companies. Language and cultural awareness is important in helping understand foreign business partners and in earning their trust.”

Eric Balish, Director of Trade Finance Scotland and Ireland at Bank ABC and one of the workshop leaders told the learners: “Life is a competition. Most of your competitors speak at least two and perhaps multiple languages. Speaking English is simply not enough to thrive and prosper now, far less in the future. Our business is anchored in financing international trade. We have a particular focus on trade into the Middle East and North Africa and also Brazil. However, we operate throughout Europe. As a consequence it is vital that we can communicate in a broad range of languages.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Radio Lingua, Keppie Design, Bank ABC and Russian Centre ‘Haven’. Schools represented were St Luke's High School, Caldervale High School, Marr College, Duncanrig Secondary School, Shawlands Academy, Holyrood RC Secondary School, Hyndland Secondary School, Largs Academy, Kirkintilloch High School, Trinity High School, St Margaret Mary’s Secondary, Williamwood High School and Clydebank High School.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is the first of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2017.

Read more...

New STEM job profile on SCILT's website

20 January 2017 (SCILT)

If you're looking for relevant career advice on languages direct from the workplace, read the Job Profiles on our website. These resources are designed for teachers to use in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work and how language skills can play a part.

Our latest addition comes from John Barry, a former petroleum engineer and manager with Shell, who explains how his language skills helped him to develop his career with the company.

Read more...

Why making languages non-compulsory at GCSE is a step backwards

17 January 2017 (The Telegraph)

I am nervous as I take my seat in front of the Head of Languages; it is GCSE choices evening and the school gym has been transformed, criss-crossed by rows of tables and chairs with eager parents and their offspring gathered around harried-looking teachers.

“I'd like to do Triple Language,” I say, “French, Spanish and Italian.”

She regards me over the top of her sheet full of names, in front of her.

“Oh no, I don't think so. You could do Spanish, maybe, but you'll find three too difficult.”

Seven years later and I am on the brink of successfully completing my undergraduate degree in, you guessed it, languages. And whilst I look back on that exchange now with a certain degree of victorious pride, I still can't help but wonder what prompted her to turn a perfectly capable student away from her course.

In this performance-obsessed climate where a pupil's grades are often put before their education, it is unsurprising that even some of the best teachers find themselves advising students against courses which are deemed too challenging. But we must do away with the notion that languages are an elite subject if we are to improve the dire situation in which we now find ourselves.

Read more...

New Job Profile on the SCILT website

13 January 2017 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles provide relevant, labour-market focused career advice on languages, direct from the workplace.

Teachers, use them in your classroom to enhance learning about the world of work.

Read our new Job Profile from Dawn Hartley, Head of Creative Learning at Scottish Dance Theatre.

Read more...

In or out of the EU, UK businesses can’t afford to reject language learning

6 December 2016 (CEO)

Brexit has raised many questions over the future competitive trading position of Britain in Europe. While the economic impact of the political upheaval still plays out, it is a good time to pause and reflect on the fact that for a long time, UK companies have put themselves at a disadvantage in Europe; perhaps without even realising it. That disadvantage comes from a lack of language skills.

While it’s fair to say that English is the lingua franca of many corporations, it is also true that global companies can enjoy richer, more productive interactions with customers, suppliers, overseas colleagues and partners when they are able to operate within different cultures in different languages.

And while enhancing and improving business relationships is a universally useful endeavor, it would be a mistake to think that language skills in business are a matter of mere social niceties. In fact, they have significant material impact on the bottom line. Mark Herbert at the British Council summed it up nicely when he cited the estimated, “tens of billions in missed trade and business opportunities every year” resulting from the UK’s shortage of language skills.

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The top 100 universities in the world for employability revealed

21 November 2016 (The Independent)

Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College London, King’s College London and the University of Manchester all ranked highly in terms of graduate employability.

[..] Taking into consideration opinions from 2,500 recruitment managers from international companies in 20 countries around the world, researchers named “professional experience” as the most important factor when predicting a graduate’s employability.

A high degree of specialism, and proficiency in at least two foreign languages were also hailed as important skills favoured by recruiters.

Responding to the results, Vicky Gough, a spokesperson for the British Council, said: “Despite languages being valued by employers the world over – as this latest ranking shows – the UK is currently facing a shortfall in these vital skills."

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Too few UK students are studying overseas, and it’s a problem

17 November 2016 (THE)

This week is the British Council’s International Education Week, which promotes the benefits of international learning and cultural exchange.

The UK is a global hub for international students with more than 400,000 studying here last year. Yet British students travelling outside the UK to study is relatively rare, and this is a problem. Just 1.3 per cent of UK students travelled abroad to study or go on work placement in 2014-15.

For graduates to find jobs and succeed in today’s post-Brexit world, they need international and cross-cultural knowledge. It is also critical for the UK’s competitiveness in international markets that the next generation entering the workplace understands how to compete globally.

Employers expect graduates to appreciate cultural diversity, universal business language and be familiar with globalisation. However, in terms of having a global mindset, nearly a quarter of employers (24 per cent) have rated graduates as weak in this area.

Read more...

'Now More Than Ever’ - Why The UK Needs To Make More Time For Language Learning In The Run Up To Brexit

17 November 2016 (Huffington Post)

'Language skills matter now more than ever’ - that is the resounding message coming from the British Council’s latest piece of research on language learning in the post-Brexit landscape. But with language uptake low in schools - and the majority of us admitting our own linguistic skills are rusty at best - what can be done to make sure languages get the recognition they deserve as the UK prepares to leave the EU?

Well the good news is that the majority of us recognise the vital role that languages have to play in the current climate. Out of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Populus in our new poll for International Education Week, 63 per cent saw the ability to speak other languages as being essential if the country is to remain “outward looking”. 61 per cent said they were more vital than ever if the UK is to remain “open for business” in light of the result of the EU referendum.

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Grab opportunities in this Century of Asia

16 November 2016 (The Scotsman)

Scotland’s people have, historically, been our greatest asset, making a significant impact both within the UK and abroad. The impact made overseas by Scots has been remarkable given our small population.

The Scottish Government’s own strategy incorporates “the Four Is” s as highest priorities, beginning with “Investing in our people and infrastructure in a sustainable way”. But are we doing enough to unlock the true potential of Scotland and embrace the opportunities that arise, even in a post-Brexit environment?

A critical factor for Scotland will be the ability of its companies and institutions to engage effectively with many new markets. The majority of these sit in Asia and require a special knowledge of practices and customs to ensure success. Since most companies in Scotland are SMEs this means that they need to wake up to the need to create market entry strategies and produce the right products and services to attract both investors and customers or clients.

[..] Learning starts at an early age. The Scotland China Education Network (SCEN) was founded in 2006 by Dr Judith McClure to bring together individuals, national agencies and associations keen to promote the teaching of Chinese language and culture in Scottish schools.

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New job profile on the SCILT website

11 November 2016 (SCILT)

Our Job Profiles are designed to be used in the classroom to enhance learning about the world of work. They provide really relevant careers advice on languages, direct from the workplace, and cover a range of sectors. See our latest addition:
  • Claire Murphy, Translator - a translator at the European Commission, Claire speaks Spanish, German and Italian and is currently learning French. She explains how cultural knowledge is as important as language skills in her role.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Lords debate on Brexit impact for HE funding and research

3 November 2016 (They Work For You)

The motion was raised in the House of Lords on 3 November 2016 that the House takes note of the potential impact of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on funding for universities and scientific research.

During the debate, Baroness Garden of Frognal raised the importance of increasing and improving the UK's ability to communicate with the world in languages other than English following withdrawal from the EU.

The full debate can be accessed online.

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Opinion: Brexit and the importance of languages for Britain #5

1 November 2016 (University of Cambridge)

In the fifth of a new series of comment pieces written by linguists at Cambridge, Dr John Gallagher, historian of early modern Europe, argues that Britain should look to its past to rediscover the importance of language learning.

The article also includes links to the previous entries in the series.

Read more...

Business Brunches 2017

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

For the third year in succession SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events across Scotland in January and February 2017. These will take place in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, these events will demonstrate the relevance of language skills in a work context with the intention of encouraging pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education.

Registration is now open for the Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen events. (Edinburgh and Inverness will open soon).

To find out more and to register by 21 November, visit our Business Brunch 2017 webpage.

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Business partnership develops language and employability skills

28 October 2016 (SCILT)

Read about how a partnership between Queen Margaret Academy and Alex Begg enabled S1 pupils studying Chinese to develop their language and employability skills, as well as an understanding of the textile industry.

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Generation UK – China

6 October 2016 (British Council)

The British Council is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Scottish Government to support more students from Scottish universities to undertake internships in China through the British Council’s Generation UK – China campaign. The partnership will be focused on supporting Scottish students from low-income backgrounds to gain international experience in the world’s second-largest economy.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Scottish students to develop highly valuable knowledge and skills working in one of the world’s fastest-growing and most dynamic economies. The Scottish Government’s support for this programme underlines our commitment to investing in Scotland’s future workforce and further strengthening our growing engagement with China.”

The Generation UK – China campaign will assist the Scottish Government in delivering its International Framework and in further strengthening relations with China. It will also develop the academic achievement and employability of students and recent graduates of Scotland’s higher education institutions.

“My experience interning in Beijing was fast-paced, exciting and always engaging,” said Justine Porter, a graduate of the University of Dundee who completed a two-month internship at a law firm in Beijing through the Generation UK – China campaign last year.

Visit the British Council website for more information.

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SCILT promotes languages skills for the tourism sector

4 October 2016 (SCILT)

Two schools engaged with local businesses to demonstrate to their pupils the value of languages skills in the tourist industry. Find out about the impact on the learners in our two new BLC case studies:

Scottish Dolphin Centre and Milne's High School

Sheraton Hotel and Holy Rood High School


Language skills for the tourism sector

29 September 2016 (Skills Development Scotland)

An action plan to help tourism employers develop the skills they need for further growth has been launched by the industry. The Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Tourism Sector features a three-year programme of initiatives aimed at helping Scotland’s tourism businesses improve skills in key areas and to attract new talent.

Industry consultations highlighted the requirement for further work in ensuring staff have the experience to deliver a high quality visitor experience, including a need to promote tourism as a career option to those studying languages.

Through increased internationalisation, Scotland will attract growing numbers of visitors from new or emerging markets. It is important that businesses and destinations understand and respond to their visitors’ customs and expectations, while also looking to enhance the foreign language skills of their workforce.

Read about some of the work schools are doing to promote language skills for the tourism industry through partnerships with local businesses in our Business Language Champions case studies.

Access the full report on the Skills Development Scotland website.

The top 9 languages for the highest-paid jobs in Britain

26 September 2016 (The Independent)

Learning a second language can be extremely lucrative for your career opportunities.

And after jobs search engine Adzuna analysed over 1 million live job postings on its website, it found out that some languages are more likely to get you a higher paid job than others in Britain, when employers advertised for jobs looking for someone who was at least bi-lingual.

Considering the UK voted to leave the European Union — dubbed a Brexit — and the nation does not know what that would entail for the jobs market, Adzuna's cofounder pointed out that having a second language could become even more sought-after, especially if businesses look to relocate overseas.

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Business Language Champions at Burgh Primary

23 September 2016 (SCILT)

Pupils at Burgh Primary in the Scottish Borders had the opportunity to find out how languages are relevant to a career in tourism when they visited Abbotsford House, a heritage site near Galashiels. P6 pupils visited the attraction for a series of workshops supporting learning across the curriculum and demosstrating to pupils the relevance of language skills in their local community.

Read more...

New student profiles on the SCILT website

16 September 2016 (SCILT)

New additions to our job profile section this term come from students currently undertaking courses which also allow them to develop their language skills.

Our two latest profiles come from students in the Tourism sector:

  • Amy-Jo Fairbairn, who is studying for a HND in Travel and Tourism at the City of Glasgow college.
  • Gail Leslie who, after completing her HND course in Travel and Tourism, is now embarking on a degree in Business Studies at UWS..
Whilst choosing different languages to learn, both can see the value of language skills for their future careers and personal lives.

Read their profiles and others on our website.

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Six professionals on why UK teenagers should learn languages

6 September 2016 (British Council Voices)

For many young people in the UK, learning another language is not a priority – only nine per cent of teenagers progressed beyond a basic level in the language they were learning in 2013. But with so many people around the globe already speaking English, I wanted to know if learning another language is really worth it. Here's what I found out from some people who would know.

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New student profile on the SCILT website

26 August 2016 (SCILT)

A new addition to our job profile section this term comes from Euan Kerr, an aeronautical engineering student at the University of Strathclyde.

Euan aims to pursue a career in engineering and appreciates that language skills will help him broaden his options and secure work overseas.

With that in mind, when Euan spent his third year studying abroad in Prague he chose to take up learning Czech as part of his studies. Having learned French at school helped him pick up a new language and making the effort to speak Czech gained respect with the local community.

So if you have pupils considering STEM subjects when they leave school, they should perhaps take a leaf from Euan's book and consider language electives too.

Read Euan's full profile on our website.

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Business Language Champions at Broughton High School

15/08/2016 (SCILT)

Pupils at Broughton High School in Edinburgh had the opportunity to find out how languages are relevant to a career in hospitality when they visited The Balmoral Hotel.

S3 pupils attended a series of workshops to develop their understanding of the hospitality industry as well as their intercultural awareness and interview skills.

The Modern Languages Department at Broughton High School found this to be an invaluable experience for the pupils, particularly the impact of visiting a workplace.

A pupil who took part in the project said: “I learned a lot about cultural awareness and about how The Balmoral Hotel goes about things. I have learned to think more about my response to someone of a different culture.”

The visit to Harvey Nichols was part of the wider Business Language Champions project running in the school. Business Language Champions is run by SCILT and helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships to equip young people with international communication and employability skills for their future careers.

After the initial visit, learners were tasked with developing an internal information leaflet which would support the hotel, sharing their knowledge of relevant Chinese language and culture with the hotel staff.

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Turbulent Times: Skills for a Global World

26 July 2016 (Think Global)

If recent events have proven anything, it’s that the world in which our young people are growing up is turbulent and unpredictable. Over the past 12 months, Think Global has been working together with OCR to look more closely at questions about the skills young people really need to live and work in such a world.

Focusing on the views and understandings of employers, who can play a crucial role in supporting young people to learn and practise skills for a global world, we surveyed 500 business leaders from across the country and across sectors to build an up-to-date picture of whether or to what extent our young people are prepared to thrive both today and in the future.

Notable in the global context which informs this research, was the finding that over a quarter (28%) of employers were affected by a lack of workers with foreign language skills; a figure rising to almost half (44%) in London.

The full report can be accessed on the Think Global website.

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New job profile on SCILT's website

17 June 2016 (SCILT)

Highlight the value of languages in the world of work to your pupils. We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website in which people from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest addition:
  • Rosemary Graham, Tour Guide - Rosemary's knowledge of the German language enabled her to live and work in Germany teaching and making jewellery. Now she uses her language skills to guide tourists around Scotland.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Business Language Champions at Trinity High

8 June 2016 (SCILT)

Pupils at Trinity High School in Edinburgh had the opportunity to find out how languages are relevant to a career in retail recently when they visited Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh.

S2 pupils met with a range of employees at the department store and found out how important languages can be to make the shopping experience more personal for customers from other countries. They also found out about the range of employability skills that can be developed through the study of languages.

The teacher leading on this project stated, “We as staff were able to see that our learners were fully connecting the fact that learning languages can be of huge practical benefit in a professional context.”

An S3 pupils at Trinity Academy who took part in the project said: “I learnt what a key role languages play in the working world. I didn’t realise how important languages were.”

The Learning and Development Partner at Harvey Nichols said of the visit: “The team really enjoyed getting involved and it was a great development opportunity for them to come and speak to the students about what they do and how languages help them in their daily work.”

The visit to Harvey Nichols was part of the wider Business Language Champions project running in the school. Business Language Champions is run by SCILT and helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships to equip young people with international communication and employability skills for their future careers.

Following the visit, pupils worked to develop phrase books in different languages, aimed at shop floor staff in order to support them when serving customers from different countries.

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‘How will we fare in post-Brexit trade negotiations if no one has studied MFL?’

2 June 2016 (TES)

There are few things so depressing about the current schools system as the precipitous decline in languages, writes this veteran education journalist.

If one thing that has saddened me over the past couple of weeks, it is that modern foreign languages has been the first core subject to be axed by a major exam board.

For at least two decades I have campaigned, cajoled and done what I can to persuade the powers that be to do more to promote languages in schools.

Read more...

SCILT publishes new Business Language Champions case study

02 June 2016 (SCILT)

Business Language Champions helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships to equip young people with international communication and employability skills for their future careers. A partnership between Walkers Shortbread and Elgin Academy demonstrated to S3 pupils the importance of languages in the food and drink industry, and the importance of this industry to the Scottish economy. The project demonstrated how the learning of a language can enhance their career prospects as well as developing their skills for learning, life and work.

Pupils were tasked with creating cue cards for the Walkers Shortbread International Sales Team to use on future trips to China. The cue cards had to be in Chinese. They then worked with the Chinese teacher to create the content for these cue cards, carrying out research in their own time. To conclude the project, the young people delivered presentations to support the work they had done on their cue cards directly to the International Sales Team, an impressive achievement and one which was positively acknowledged by staff at Walkers Shortbread.

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SCILT publishes new Business Language Champions case study

20 May 2016 (SCILT)

Business Language Champions helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships to equip young people with international communication and employability skills for their future careers. A partnership between Johnstons of Elgin and Elgin Academy demonstrated to S2 pupils the importance of languages in the textile industry as well as developing employability skills within an interdisciplinary context. Learners considered marketing strategies for promoting textile goods in China and delivered a presentation to a “Dragon’s Den” judging panel.

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Mock Council of the European Union 2016

16 May 2016 (British Council eTwinning)

Do your students want to learn to negotiate in an international environment?

Don't forget you can now apply to be one of 30 schools from across England and Scotland to take part in the annual Mock Council of the European Union, to be held at the Foreign Office in London on Thursday 17 November.

In the Mock Council, 30 schools are each assigned the role of an EU member state or an EU institution and simulate a meeting of the EU's Council of Ministers on two topical EU policy proposals. Two students from each school must research these policy areas and represent their adopted country or institution at the Council meeting.

Students are encouraged to use foreign languages where possible in the discussions to reflect the multilingual nature of the EU; interpretation into English is provided.

This year there will be an additional role for one school to represent 'the media'. The aim of this role will be to generate interest before, during and after the event, through interviewing participating schools. 

Applications are welcome from secondary and further education colleges across England and Scotland. The application deadline is 29 May 2016.

Further information and application forms can be found on the Mock Council 2016 website, along with highlights from the 2015 event.

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SCILT publishes new Business Language Champions case study

12 May 2016 (SCILT)

Business Language Champions helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships to equip young people with international communication and employability skills for their future careers. A partnership between Jurys Inn Glasgow and Lourdes Secondary School demonstrated to S3 pupils the importance of languages in the hospitality industry. Learners created an information brochure in French for tourists to Glasgow. They found out about further skills that are important in the workplace.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

12 May 2016 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website in which people from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest addition:
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

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Business Brunch 2016 events webpage now live!

6 May 2016 (SCILT)

SCILT, in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS), held a series of Business Brunch events (formerly Business Breakfast) across Scotland, during January and February this year where pupils from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

Find out more about the events on our new webpage.

Read more...

New job profile on SCILT's website

21 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest addition:
  • Ross Noble, Conference Interpreter - his role as conference interpreter at the European Commission gives him the chance to use all of his languages every day and to learn about varied and interesting topics.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

1 April 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives. See our latest profile now:

  • Amanda Attfield, Exploration Geologist - Amanda speaks Finnish, German, Spanish and is now learning Russian to help in her current job role. She tells how her love of languages has made her more employable, taken her around the globe and helped forge connections with local people and their cultures.
See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

Language learning for business

29 March 2016 (Scottish Government)

In a global, multi-cultural society, being able to communicate in more than one language is increasingly vital. It is important for the nation’s prosperity that young people are attracted to learning languages and that they become confident in speaking languages other than their own.

According to the CBI's Education and Skills survey 2015, over three quarters of businesses (77%) have a need for language skills among their employees, with over one in ten (11%) stating they would need language skills in the next few years.

The Scottish Government is committed to expanding and improving language learning so that our young people are equipped with the skills and competencies needed for the global economy. That is why we have made an ambitious languages commitment to introduce a norm for language learning based on the EU 1+2 model. This will ensure that all young people in Scotland have excellent language learning opportunities from a young age, as a normal and expected part of a broad, relevant school education.

Ken Lindsay tells us of his experiences of learning languages and how they have helped him in his role as an International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers Ltd.

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Go and work abroad – it could have career benefits you never imagined

17 March 2016 (The Guardian)

I had a lot of good times working abroad – teaching English in Germany and working on summer camps in France and Spain – but I didn’t realise that I was also building valuable skills for my career.

Employers really value those with international experience. Katie Bateman, a careers advisor at the University of Gloucestershire, says it can set you apart from a crowd of other applicants. “Graduates can learn another language and prove just how adaptable they are by embracing change and learning to adjust to a different culture,” she says.

Read more...

The curriculum vs employability skills?

16 March 2016 (SecEd)

The curriculum is hampering schools’ efforts to improve and develop the employability skills of their young people, argues Phil Crompton.

Everyone spends at least 11 years at school. That’s a long time. So surely it is not unreasonable to expect young people emerging from the education system to be ready to make a positive contribution to the working world?

I am not talking about examination results. They are just one indicator of someone’s capacity to be a great employee, or even an employer. I am talking about the skills that actually matter in the workplace.

Shouldn’t pupils in our schools be given the chance to develop skills in communicating with confidence, working in teams, bouncing back from failure, being polite, and organising themselves. And once they have developed the skills fully shouldn’t some recognition be available? Employers certainly think so. And so do I.

[..] At my three schools, we recognise the existing curriculum isn’t going away and that exams have to be passed, but we are working with local businesses to breathe life into some of the duller parts of the curriculum and to equip our pupils for working life.

Science classes are advising a housing company on how to promote their new eco-homes, German and French students are producing foreign language leaflets for visitors to a local hotel, computing students have worked with an IT firm to create mobile phone apps, A level students have been practising Spanish conversation at a city tapas bar, and a professional actress has worked with a drama class.

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Televerde Selects Glasgow, Scotland for European Headquarters and Contact Center Location

3 March 2016 (Virtual Strategy )

Televerde, the global sales and marketing solutions provider, announces today it has selected Glasgow, Scotland as the location for its European headquarters and contact center.

[..] Over the course of the next 12-24 months, Televerde will hire up to 170 employees, including approximately 130 multilingual contact center agents. The Glasgow contact center will include language capabilities in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Scandinavian and Eastern European languages. Glasgow was specifically chosen as Televerde’s European launching pad based on its ability to serve the company’s customers with its multilingual talent, geographic proximity between the U.S. and continental Europe and through a high-performance partnership with Scottish Development International.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

19 February 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest profile features Adam Williams. a Spacecraft Operations Engineer working for the European Space Agency on the ExoMars mission, whose goal is to send a robotic vehicle to Mars to try and find evidence of past or present life on Mars. He explains how beneficial language skills are when working with a diverse range of international colleagues.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Aberdeen

15 February 2016 (SCILT)

Young people from 14 schools across Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Beach Ballroom on 10 February 2016. 140 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending said: “The event was very informative, provided usable information and generated excitement about language learning. We had the opportunity to ask questions directly of people in the industry.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “The Brunch has really helped me with my subject choices. The event was very enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone who is still undecided about further language study. It really explained how important it is to learn a language.”

Meryl James and Janette Kelso, part of the team behind the event, said: “Languages improve your overall being. They help with formation of synapses in your brain and increase its overall capacity to function; it's a workout for your brain really. Research from Edinburgh University shows the risk of developing dementia is greatly reduced if you study a language. Memory capacity is increased – which is useful for anything in life – and you can develop many transferable skills through learning a language, including communication skills, analytical skills, as well as creative and flexible thinking. Don’t miss out!”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included Visit Scotland, Chester Hotel Aberdeen and TOTAL E&P UK LTD. Schools represented were Harlaw Academy, Bucksburn Academy, Hazlehead Academy, Northfield Academy, Cults Academy, Meldrum Academy, Mearns Academy, Westhill Academy, Peterhead Academy, Portlethen Academy, Mackie Academy, Fraserburgh Academy, Banff Academy and Turriff Academy.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

More information on SCILT’s 2016 Business Brunches.

 

Poor language skills and strategies contributing to UK record trade deficit

10 February 2016 (ATC)

Britain's poor language skills and strategies are contributing to the record £125 billion UK trade deficit, according to the Association of Translation Companies.

Commenting on the figures released by the Office for National Statistics, Geoffrey Bowden, General Secretary for the Association of Translation Companies (ATC) comments: “As an organisation whose members are focused on helping UK companies from all sectors maximise international trade opportunities, we are concerned to see a reduction in the value of UK exports for December 2015.

“Recent research shows that poor language skills are costing the UK economy £48 billion a year in lost export sales and that organisations which have made the conscious decision to invest in professional language services achieve a far higher export to turnover ratio."

Read more...

Why native English speakers fail to be understood in English – and lose out in global business

10 February 2016 (The Conversation)

Language skills are often trumpeted as a cornerstone of social integration, allowing citizens to participate fully in their host communities. British prime minister David Cameron recently announced a £20m fund for English language lessons to tackle radicalisation in the UK, for example. Similarly, US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has called for assimilation and English-speaking in the US.

But with transnational mobility and trade a defining feature of our times, what of Cameron’s or Trump’s own supporters and their ability to speak English within a wider international community?

Native English speakers are infamously unable to speak languages other than their own. As well as being a professional handicap, this has been shown to hinder exporters and hurt trade.

And now ironically, there is mounting evidence that in international business, native English speakers are failing to integrate as a result of their shortcomings when it comes to tailoring their English for this context. When it comes to English – the international language not only for business but also higher education and cross-border collaboration – research shows that, far from being able to rest on their laurels, native speakers are not masters of the world’s global language.

Read more...

Developing the Young Workforce: Information and resources

9 February 2016 (Education Scotland)

Information and resources to support Developing the Young Workforce. From Education Scotland.

Related Files

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Edinburgh

9 February 2016 (SCILT)

Young people from 15 schools across Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Surgeons’ Hall Quincentenary Conference Centre on 2 February 2016. 140 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending said: “This was really engaging for the pupils. One of the speakers said he had no interest in learning another language but now he couldn't have secured his job without it – this is what pupils need to hear.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I enjoyed seeing all the different companies and finding out about the opportunities that are out there with languages. It was interesting and inspiring learning about the jobs and the different cultures.”

Callam Fletcher, Interim CEO of Asia Scotland Institute, stated in his keynote speech: “I went to Valencia with Erasmus during my IT degree and loved it! I knew French, and Spanish and French are quite similar. Later, I founded an IT company in the Czech Republic. At the beginning I had no Czech, but I knew from my experience of French and Spanish that I would learn it. Companies all over the world are becoming more international and language is one of those resources that unlocks opportunities.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included Asia Scotland Institute, National Galleries Scotland and Scotsman Hotel. Schools represented were Armadale Academy, Bathgate Academy, Blairgowrie High School, Dunfermline High School, Newbattle Community High School, Penicuik High School, Preston Lodge High School, St Kentigern’s Academy, The James Young High School, Trinity Academy, The Royal High School, Stirling High School, St Margaret’s Academy, Larbert High School and Alva Academy.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

More information on SCILT’s 2016 Business Brunches.

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Renfrewshire

8 February 2016 (SCILT)

Young people from ten schools across west of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of West of Scotland Paisley Campus on 28 January 2016. 140 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending said: “The event was very interesting and demonstrated to pupils how languages are used in the workplace. Pupils hadn't made the connection between having a language with the sort of companies represented at the event.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I learned lot about how languages are valuable in the world and that learning a second language is of increasing importance.”

Gillian Black, Regional Sales Manager at the Macdonald Crutherland House Hotel, stated in the plenary: “How you interact, how you hold yourself and get to know the culture along with the language is very important in the world of hospitality. We will soon be hosting a group from China and are busy learning phrases in Chinese. I have a range of languages I tap into – it's about building a relationship.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included Rolls Royce, Clansman Dynamics and Holiday Inn. Schools represented were Gryffe High School, Renfrew High School, Johnstone High School, Linwood High School, Lourdes Secondary, Bannerman High School, Holyrood Secondary, Balfron High School, Bearsden Academy, Barrhead High School.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

More information on SCILT’s 2016 Business Brunches.

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Inverness

1 February 2016 (SCILT)

Young people from ten schools across Highland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at Kingsmills Hotel on 26 January 2016. 140 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending said: “This was an enjoyable and highly informative opportunity to speak to successful people who can partially or entirely attribute their success to use of language. The Business Brunch certainly makes it clear to learners that languages are important.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I found out how languages help you go further and can give you a head start. It was interesting to find out how many jobs you can get even if you only know a bit of the language.” UHI Student Language Ambassador, Susan Dearness, who was part of a team supporting the event stated: “I knew right from an early age that I wanted to do languages. When I started travelling and doing seasonal work in Europe I realised how important a language is. I’ve had fantastic jobs and opportunities because of languages. The emphasis on global citizenship these days and the growing awareness of how important a knowledge of languages can be means that students won't be faced with the fallacy that “Everyone speaks English”!”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included BBC, The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses and Kanaird Shipping. Schools represented were Culloden Academy, Plockton High School, Inverness Royal Academy, Alness Academy, Ullapool High School, Charleston Academy, Farr High School, Lochaber High School, Inverness High School, Grantown Grammar and Fortrose Academy.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

More information on SCILT’s 2016 Business Brunches.

Business brunches: Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Dundee

25 January 2015 (SCILT)

Young people from ten schools across Tayside and Fife had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of Dundee on 20 January 2016. 140 learners from S3-S5 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending said: “The event was very interesting and demonstrated to pupils how languages are used in the workplace. The presentation from Outplay Entertainment showed that there are more opportunities for linguists in the games industry than we thought, and illustrated another field that uses languages.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I learned lot about how languages are valuable in the world and that learning a second language is of increasing importance.”

Professor Karl Leydecker, Vice-Principal (Learning & Teaching) at University of Dundee, stated in the plenary: “Languages give you that extra something, not just for your job but for all areas in life. When the European students attend our Enterprise Gym, we see that they have the confidence to take a challenge on. Everyone is looking out to the world. It's never too late to pick up a language.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included Glamis Castle, Volpa and Valentine International Business Connections LLP. Schools represented were Beath High School, Blairgowrie High School, Carnoustie High School, Glenalmond College, Harris Academy, Madras College, Montrose Academy, Perth Grammar, St John’s Roman Catholic High School and Webster’s High School.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Marion Spöring, University of Dundee and Chair of UCML Scotland, said: “It was great to see the enthusiasm and feel the buzz of over a hundred pupils who were finding out about the many exciting ways languages open up employment opportunities in local and global businesses. From creative and heritage industries, computer gaming and worldwide marketing – there are breakthroughs to be made and multilingual people are the key for success in business.”

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy. The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

Read more...

Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Glasgow

18 January 2016 (SCILT)

Young people from fourteen schools across the west of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the University of Strathclyde on 13 January 2016. 140 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher attending the event said: “The speaker demonstrated the value of languages to learners and it was powerful for them to see this in a commercial context. The event gave learners lots to think about in terms of their future careers.” One of the young people added to this, and commented: “When one of the speakers spoke to us in seven languages, this is what influenced me the most to consider languages in the future. His languages seemed to have been very beneficial to his career.”

David Ross from Keppie Design, one of the workshop leaders, stated: “People are what make business work. If you can speak languages it makes life much easier. It's a fallacy that the world speaks English.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland. Companies attending included Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, Barclays Bank and IBM. Schools represented were Bellshill Academy, Belmont House School, Bishopbriggs Academy, Cathkin High School, Dumbarton Academy, Hillhead High School, Irvine Royal Academy, John Ogilvie High, Kilmarnock Academy, Lenzie Academy, Moffat Academy, Our Lady and St Patrick's High, Our Lady's High Cumbernauld and Uddingston Grammar.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February 2016 which build on the successful series of Business Breakfasts in January 2015.

More information on SCILT’s 2016 Business Brunches.

White Hot Employer Demand For MBAs Who Speak Multiple Languages

17 January 2016 (Business Because)

Ask anyone working at a business school what makes it unique and you’ll get a spiel about global diversity. Yet companies are desperate for graduates who have honed multiple languages and cultural norms.

“Languages are always good for us,” says Julia McDonald, head of talent acquisition for EMEA at Infosys. English is the company’s common language, “but our clients often want people that can speak their local language,” Julia says.

Mark Davies, employer relations manager at London’s Imperial College Business School, says there is growing demand for multilingual European language speakers at companies including BP, GE, Johnson & Johnson, and GSK, which have operations in emerging markets.

André Alcalde, an executive at Lojas Renner, Brazil’s largest fast-fashion retailer, speaks English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.

“In a business world that is more internationally-connected,” says the HULT MBA student, “it is mandatory when building an executive career to be able to deal with different cultures.”

Nearly two-thirds of businesses in the UK want to recruit staff with foreign language skills. A survey by the business lobby group the CBI and education company Pearson found European languages are the most sought after: French (50%); German (49%); and Spanish (44%).

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

14 January 2016 (SCILT)

We have a range of job profiles on the SCILT website to let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest profile features Andrew Muir, who lived and studied in Scotland but now works in London as a Character Animator on a children's TV series. He tells us why language learning is important and the opportunities this can offer him to expand his career overseas.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

'Pay for foreign exchange trips rather than a week in Majorca,' top headteacher tells parents

11 January 2016 (TES)

Parents should consider sending their child on a school foreign exchange rather than spending money on a week in Majorca, a headteacher has suggested.

Young people are likely to learn more on a cultural break in a city such as Madrid or Barcelona than they are sitting on a beach, according to Caroline Jordan, headmistress of Headington School in Oxford and the new president of the Girls' Schools Association.

Setting up a foreign exchange for students did not have to be expensive, Ms Jordan said.

"It's trying to convince the parents that that's good use of their finances as opposed to a foreign holiday to Majorca, where they may well be in a Spanish environment but they're less likely to be experiencing Spanish as they would be if they were in somewhere like Madrid or Barcelona on exchange," she said.

"Exchange is very important and we know that languages is a real area of concern in this country. The government is doing quite a lot about this by trying to encourage all children to take a language through the English Baccalaureate."

Figures show that last year, there was a drop in language GCSE entries, with French down 6.2 per cent on 2014, German down 9.8 per cent and Spanish down 2.4 per cent.

As well as ensuring that children learned a foreign language, Ms Jordan added that it was important that modern teenagers were given the opportunity to consider studying at a university overseas, arguing that it could be beneficial to them later on.

Read more...

Languages: a world of opportunity – web page now live

7 January 2016 (Scottish Government)

In September 2015, Michael Russell MSP hosted a parliamentary reception, entitled Languages: a world of opportunity. While celebrating language learning in Scotland, the event set out to inspire people to appreciate language skills as valuable, enabling, achievable, career and life-enhancing.

Through real life examples about how stronger language skills are already making a difference, not only in education, but in employment and on a personal level, attendees were invited to consider how to further promote language skills, and an understanding of their value, in the interests of Scotland’s global position.

As an employability skill, Scotland as a whole stands to gain from language skills becoming the norm for us all. This is why Scottish Government is committed to radically enhance language learning in schools across Scotland through Language Learning in Scotland: A 1+2 approach.

This webpage contains information from the event, films about and using language and links to websites of organisations who promote, develop and advocate language learning.

Read more...

Languages for work at James Young High

21 December 2015 (SCILT)

On the 10 December 2015, S3 pupils at James Young High in Livingston had the opportunity to participate in a language morning to celebrate the second year of the Business Language partnership with the Dalmahoy Marriott Hotel and Country Club.

This partnership was established through the Business Language Champions programme which is facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages. The programme helps schools and businesses to build partnerships through languages in order to give young people a real and engaging context for their language learning and to provide learners with an insight into the world of work.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Partnerships such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world”.

Business Language Champions demonstrates to young people how the learning of a language can enhance their career prospects and develop their skills for learning, life and work. This year the project will involve the S3 pupils working collaboratively to create a nature trail guide and floor plan for the hotel in German.

The launch event was organised by the Modern Languages Department at the James Young High in Livingston with support from SCILT. Throughout the morning the students had the opportunity to engage with a variety of speakers from the hotel itself and language ambassadors from universities across Scotland, all promoting the benefits of having a language as part of their skill set.

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BB is back!

4 December 2015 (SCILT)

Due to popular demand, SCILT, in partnership with University Council for Modern Languages (UCMLS) is delighted to announce that we will be hosting a series of Business Brunch events (formerly Business Breakfast) across Scotland next year! Last chance to register for all events 4 December (except Edinburgh - 10 December)!

Aimed specifically at S3 - S6 pupils, each event will provide learners with the opportunity to hear from a wide range of dynamic business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth of the success of their organisations and why they compete successfully in a globalised market.
Most importantly, it will give young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the variety of careers and employment opportunities that are open to people who can demonstrate language skills on their CV.

In addition, we will highlight the benefits of offering the SVQ unit 'Building your own Employability Skills' from the Languages for Life and Work Award, because it can be an effective stepping stone for the employability context in National 4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher.

To find out more and register interest for these events, visit our Business Brunches 2016 webpage.

Read more...

All talk ... five ways to use language skills to boost your career

9 November 2015 (The Guardian)

Resigned to a short sentence shoved at the bottom of CVs, downplaying language skills is a common mistake.

Whether you are completely fluent or stuttering over the subjunctive, you should be shouting about it to employers, says Lizzie Fane, founder of ThirdYearAbroad.com. “It shows an eagerness to learn to your employer and may even lead to you being able to travel abroad or work with clients who speak that language.”

Read more...

No bad language from Gala pupils

23 October 2014 (The Southern Reporter)

A recent careers event highlighted the importance of language skills to Galashiels Academy pupils.

S3 pupils participated in the event held in the school on September 23.

It aimed to demonstrate the value of language skills for Scotland’s future workforce and to encourage pupils to consider the relevance of languages for their personal development as well as for further study and future career opportunities.

Read more...

Language learning for international gaming

6 October 2015 (SCILT)

Woodmill High School links with Outplay Entertainment

The value of language skills for employment was made clear to Woodmill High School pupils at a recent visit from a gaming industry expert. On 30 September 2015, Thomas Hulvershorn, Operation and Analytics Manager at Outplay Entertainment, addressed S3 pupils at an event marking the start of a partnership between Outplay Entertainment and the school.

Mr Hulvershorn explained to pupils how language skills play an important role in the gaming industry, particularly in terms of international marketing and in making games accessible globally to players in their own language.

Janet Monaghan, Principal Teacher of Modern Languages, said: “We are delighted to have made this link with Outplay Entertainment. It will make the Media unit pupils are about to study so much more relevant and meaningful.”

Thomas Cameron, S3 pupil said: “I thought that it was good to learn about how languages could help you get a job and it gave me a new perspective on looking at languages.”

The partnership is facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, as part of their Business Language Champions scheme. The partnership is facilitated by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, as part of their Business Language Champions scheme. Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “It is important that our young people are aware of the benefits that learning a language can bring them. It’s important for them to understand that language qualifications are not just for those who wish to be interpreters or teachers! Language skills enhance any candidate’s CV and the enhanced communication skills and cultural sensitivity they foster is a tremendous attribute to any working environment.”

During his visit, Mr Hulvershorn shared his own experience of learning languages and how he did not appreciate the significant role languages would play in his later professional life. He talked to the pupils about the gaming industry, particularly the process of designing and making games. He set pupils the task of creating a poster promoting one of the company’s games in French or German.

The visit marked the launch of Business Language Champions at Woodmill High School. This scheme helps schools and businesses to build partnerships through languages to equip young people with the international communication and employability skills that they will need for their future careers. Business Language Champions is facilitated by SCILT and runs in schools across Scotland.

More information on SCILT’s Business Language Champions.

If you would like to organise a BLC in your own school or local authority, SCILT would be delighted to support you. Contact us.

South Ayrshire pupils understand the value of language skills

5 September 2015 (SCILT)

A recent event highlighted the importance of language skills to South Ayrshire secondary pupils. 240 pupils from schools across South Ayrshire participated in a Business Breakfast held on 22 September 2015 at Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr. The event aimed to demonstrate to pupils the value of language skills in a business context and to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the Senior Phase.

The event was organised by South Ayrshire Education Department, Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages.

Fhiona Fisher, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of affording young people high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves. It's important that Scottish youngsters can enter the workforce with a wide range of skills and attributes; those who have learned a language can offer enhanced communication skills, a greater level of inter-cultural sensitivity and highly developed literacy. These competencies are all highly valued by the business community and this event has clearly demonstrated how having ability in languages other than English can make our young people more competitive in an increasingly globalised job market.”

Toni, S3 pupil from Queen Margaret Academy said: "I'm interested in Engineering and it was really useful to talk to an engineering company about why having another language is really important to their business. The speaker also said they were trying to promote women in engineering, so that's good news for me! I am definitely going to choose to do a language in S5/S6 now!"

Taylor, S3 pupil from Ayr Academy said: "I liked that we got to talk to a wide variety of local companies and businesses that use languages not just people who translate as a job."

Calvin, S3 pupil also from Ayr Academy said: "I didn't realise all these companies were out there and how important having another language has been to their business."

The event opened and closed with an inspirational talk from two businesses on the importance of language learning. Throughout the day pupils visited a marketplace where they could talk to representatives from a range of companies about how languages benefit their business. Pupils also attended two workshops where companies presented on how they use languages in their business dealings.

For more information on SCILT’s work to promote the benefits of language learning for business and employment, please visit the business pages of the SCILT website.

If you would like to organise something similar in your own school or local authority, SCILT would be delighted to support you. Contact us.

Why Mandarin is Not the Future Language of Business

1 October 2015 (The Examiner)

For decades, Mandarin has been touted as the future language of business. China has the largest population in the world and has enjoyed unprecedented economic growth to become one of the global industry powerhouses. Around 955 million people are speakers of Mandarin which is more than 14.4% of the world’s population. These statistics support the claim that it will be the language of the future, but it’s not that simple. There are many factors that suggest that Spanish, not Mandarin, will become the ultimate business language.

Read more...

Don't rely on Google – invest in languages to grow your business

29 September 2015 (The Guardian)

It’s easy to feel intimidated by the prospect of selling in another language. According to research from the British Council, around three-quarters of British people don’t speak another language well enough to have a basic conversation, let alone sell a product or negotiate a deal. But it’s well worth getting over that language barrier. A recent report from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that the UK is losing out on an incredible £48bn a year in lost exports as a direct result of its lack of language skills.

Read more...

The 10 second languages UK employers most want their staff to speak

15 September 2015 (i100/The Independent)

French is the most useful language British employers look for on CVs, according to a recent study.

Adequate foreign language skills were one of the most highly rated concerns for employees looking to hire, the Confederation of British Industry study found.

Read more...

SCILT Business Breakfasts webpage now live

8 May 2015 (SCILT)

SCILT was delighted to host three motivational Business Breakfast events in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen at the beginning of this year. Our main aim was to support S3-S6 pupils in the uptake of language learning in the senior phase by providing schools with an opportunity to hear from various dynamic speakers who view language skills as a key part to the success of their businesses.

We have uploaded presentations and photographs from the event onto our website. You might find the presentations useful to use with your pupils to promote the benefits of languages.

Visit our Business Breakfasts 2015 webpage for more information.

Read more...

IoLET unveils new languages for business qualification

31 March 2015 (Chartered Institute of Linguists)

IoLET, the awarding body of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, exhibited at the Association for Language Learning’s annual gathering of teachers, Language World, now in its 25th year.

At the event held in Newcastle on 20-21 March, IoLET presented its newest qualification, the Certificate in Languages for Business (CLB), attracting keen interest from MFL teachers from around the UK. This practical, work-oriented qualification is initially offered in French, German and Spanish, and is already running across a number of secondary schools and universities.

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Business Language Champions - new case study published

23 March 2015 (SCILT)

S3 learners at Brechin High School benefitted from a visit from the Royal Navy and language workshops which culminated in an interdisciplinary project in which learners had to use their language skills in humanitarian crisis scenarios. This project helped to highlight the importance of both language skills and knowledge in a real life scenario. It also allowed the learners to use transferable skills like team work, organisation, working to a deadline and applying language knowledge to a practical situation.

SCILT’s Business Language Champions programme helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships that equip young people with the international communication and employability skills they need for their future careers.

Read more...

Studying languages: Shout louder

28 February 2015 (The Economist)

The last time she was recruiting for her export-sales team, Sarah Grain hired a Lithuanian who speaks Russian, Polish and German. Her two previous hires for Eriez Magnetics, which makes industrial equipment in South Wales, were an Italian who also speaks French, and a Venezuelan who speaks Spanish and Portuguese. All of them speak fluent English. “There were no British applicants who had the requisite language skills,” she says.

Ms Grain’s conclusion is not unusual for a British company. In 2012 a European Commission survey tested the foreign-language proficiency of 54,000 students aged 14 and 15, in 14 nations. Sweden came top, with 82% of pupils reaching an “independent” or “advanced independent” standard. The average for all 14 states was 42%. England came bottom, with just 9%.

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Why languages are the key to Britain's future

30 January 2015 (Third Year Abroad)

Third Year Abroad Editor, Florence, discusses why lesser-taught languages such as Arabic and Mandarin are not just useful life skills, but are crucial to the future of the UK.

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Multinational means multilingual

19 January 2015 (Rosetta Stone)

Commissioned by Rosetta Stone, research firm VansonBourne conducted a survey amongst 500 UK and Germany-based execs. 87% of executives state that their organisations rely on more than one critical language, yet 70% agree there is not enough training for staff. Take a look at the infographic to see the research outcomes in detail.

Read more...

Aberdeen looks to lure world's biggest spending tourists

5 January 2015 (The Herald)

The Granite City is hoping to cash in on the world's biggest spending tourists - by launching a Chinese version of its tourism website.

VisitAberdeen hopes the move will boost its share of the £128 billion China spends every year on overseas leisure and business - an average of 50 per cent more than Americans.

Read more...

Related Links

Would you fly 5000 miles to see Aberdeen? (The Telegraph, 8 January 2015)

New job profile on the SCILT website

16 December 2014 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest addition to the section comes from Verena Gräfin von Roedern, Head of the German Consulate General in Edinburgh, who talks about the many reasons why we should learn German.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

Why language skills are great for business

16 December 2014 (The Guardian)

Don’t know your bonjours from your buongiornos? You’re not alone: three-quarters of British adults can’t speak a foreign language competently. But the benefits of being able to communicate with overseas clients, suppliers and buyers are huge – as are the costs of lacking that facility.

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Language degrees: when the words are not enough

11 December 2014 (Times Higher Education)

A deep understanding of foreign languages is often essential to the combination of cajolery and seduction many companies require in their international negotiators.

That was the argument of Richard Hardie, chair of investment bank UBS, at a Westminster Higher Education Forum seminar on “Priorities for foreign language learning: participation, resources and progression” last week.

Read more...

New job profile on the SCILT website

5 December 2014 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

Our latest addition to the section comes from Heloise Allan, Head of Education for Project Trust, an educational charity specialising in overseas volunteering in 34 countries for school-leavers aged 17-19.

See this and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

New job profiles on SCILT’s website

21 November 2014 (SCILT)

Let your pupils see that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.
NEW to the job profiles section: 

  • Chris Cusack explains how languages have helped him in his music career
  • Martin Peterson of Shell shares his view of languages in the world of business

See these and other job profiles on our website now.

Read more...

Scottish Parliament debate on Food and Drink recognises the importance of language learning skills in global market place

20 November 2014 (Scottish Parliament)

Claire Baker (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Lab):
We also need to ensure that future generations gain the relevant skills to be successful in the global marketplace. Although business programmes remain popular, Scotland is still pretty behind on language skills. Our approach to languages in education is still centred on the traditional languages. We must ask how we can reflect the modern workplace and the business world. If we are talking about Scottish products moving into bigger export markets, we need that flexibility in languages. At recent food and drink events, I have seen a growth in translation services provided by companies that are setting up to help others with that expansion.

Read more...

New BLC Case Study live on SCILT website

6 November 2014 (SCILT)

SCILT’s Business Language Champions programme helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships that equip young people with the international communication and employability skills they need for their future careers.

This case study shows how a partnership between Kilwinning Academy and the Scottish Football Association demonstrated to pupils that languages are necessary in all walks of life. S3 learners visited the Scottish Football Museum and took part in a range of activities which highlighted the relevance of learning French.

Read more...

BLC Case Study live on SCILT website

21 October 2014 (SCILT)

SCILT’s Business Language Champions programme helps schools and businesses to build exciting and sustainable partnerships that equip young people with the international communication and employability skills they need for their future careers.

This case study shows how a partnership between Priorsford Primary and Holland & Sherry, a world renown cloth merchant based in Peebles, provided a local context to show young people the opportunities that arise from learning a modern language. The whole school was involved in this BLC project which raised learners’ awareness of what Holland & Sherry does in their local town while building learners’ language skills.

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Motivating the demotivated: SCILT job profiles

21 October 2014 (SCILT)

Show your pupils that languages are valuable in the world of work by visiting the 'Job Profiles' section of the SCILT website. People from a range of sectors - including sport, marketing, technology and many more - explain how language learning has influenced their professional lives.

NEW to the job profiles section:

  • Susan Young shows us her unusual office, and tells us how she turned her passion in life into her job.
  • Amy Baxter shares her story with us in a new video interview just added to her job profile.

Read more...

A series of blogs from the British Council on important languages for the UK’s future

10 October 2014 (British Council)

The final post in the British Council's weekly series on the ten most important languages for the UK’s future, as identified by the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, is about Mandarin Chinese. Here, the British Council’s Asmaa Ibrahim explains the characters, tonal differences, and sound similarities that make the language so fascinating.

Related Links

Read the other blogs in the series:

  • Arabic is in great demand and there’s a shortage of well-qualified speakers
  • Russian: beautiful, complex, and a window onto the unknown
  • Turkish: a fascinating structure and huge influence
  • The French language: romantic, precise, close to English
  • German and hipsters: the perfect match?
  • Single Japanese words can contain whole worlds of experience
  • How good is Italian for business?
  • Spanish: learning to speak the language of 400 million people
  • Which languages the UK needs and why

Scots reluctant to study abroad 'endangering the economy'

2 April 2014 (The Herald)

Scottish university students who are reluctant to study abroad are damaging their job prospects and endangering the economy, experts have warned.

There were 126,000 home students at Scottish universities in 2011/12, but only 1810 left to study overseas, figures show. In contrast, there were more than 40,000 overseas students at Scottish universities in the same year.

While the numbers of Scottish students travelling abroad to study is increasing, the British Council, which specialises in international educational and cultural opportunities, said Scotland still had one of the lowest student mobility rates in Europe.

A recent survey by students' organisation NUS Scotland found the main barrier to studying abroad was the perception it cost too much. About half of students who took part also expressed concern that their existing language skills would not be good enough to cope in an overseas study environment.

Read more...

Related Links

There is much to learn from study time abroad (The Herald, 2 April 2014)

Johnson: What is a foreign language worth?

11 March 2014 (The Economist)

There are pros and cons to language-learning. The pros are that working in a foreign language can make people make better decisions (research Johnson covered here) and that bilingualism helps with executive function in children and dementia in older people (covered here). The cons: one study finds that the earnings bonus for an American who learns a foreign language is just 2%. If you make $30,000 a year, sniffs Mr Dubner, that’s just $600.

Read more...

Inspiring the Future Languages Focus Week unveiled 22-26 September 2014

3 March 2014 (Education and Employers)

(Applies to England) A national campaign is being launched to encourage young people to learn languages at school and understand how language skills impact on their job prospects. Inspiring the Future Languages Focus Week is taking place 22-26 September 2014 and seeks to get 100s of schools and employers involved across England.

Read more...

The cost of a lack of language skills

27 February 2014 (ECML)

According to the Guardian, the lack of language skills costs the UK £48bn per year. For companies willing to trade internationally, “English only” is not enough and the difficulty to find skilled staff results in a loss of contracts, in recruiting locally seconded expats and more generally in difficulties to operate globally.

In all business areas, whether marketing, export, sales, but also in legal matters, language skills do play a crucial role. The cost of communication barriers has been well documented in the ELAN study - Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise which sought to estimate the cost to EU business of not having foreign language skills. The survey that has been carried out among almost 2000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) showed that languages on top of the wish lists of European SMEs, apart from English, were German, French, Russian and Spanish. English is clearly an extremely important language for international exchange but will not be enough to face future challenges.

Read more...

Lack of foreign languages skills ‘hurts firms,’ warns Oxfordshire businessman

14 February 2014 (Oxford Mail)

An Oxfordshire businessman has told the Government that schools must teach more foreign languages for British businesses to thrive.

Gary Muddyman, chief executive of translation agency Conversis, based in Chesterton near Bicester, spoke in the House of Lords to highlight the issue. He warned that the deepening language skills shortage is affecting UK competitiveness abroad.

Read more...

Employers struggle to fill vacancies because of lack of languages

30 January 2014 (The Guardian)

A dearth of foreign language skills accounts for nearly a fifth of hard-to-fill vacancies in the UK, a survey has found.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills' (UKCES) report on the UK's employer skills found that of reasons employers gave for struggling to fill vacancies, 17% attributed a languages skills shortage.

The survey asked employers which skills they found to be lacking among applicants for its vacancies. Language skills came in at 17%, second to last after IT skills. The highest portion of skills employers found lacking in applicants were technical, job-specific skills, which accounted for 63%.

Genna Kik, senior research manager on the report, said that while the language skills may be low overall compared to the categories, for the businesses experiencing these shortfalls, the impact is significant.

Read more...

German region of Saarland moves towards bilingualism

21 January 2014 (BBC News)

Germany's western Saarland region says it wants its next generation to be bilingual in German and French.

It is part of a strategy to deepen economic ties with France, which borders the region. Proposals by the regional government include bilingual teaching from pre-school age and requiring new state employees to be able to work in French.

Read more...

Language skills deficit costs the UK £48bn a year

10 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Deficient language skills and the assumption that "everyone speaks English" are costing the UK economy around £48bn a year, or 3.5% of GDP, according to research by Professor James Foreman-Peck for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

Poor language skills act like a "tax on growth", hampering small to medium-size exporters, who are unable to employ the language specialists brought in by global companies, says Foreman-Peck, professor of economics at Cardiff Business School. It also deters non-exporters from trading internationally, he adds.

Read more...

Languages, diplomacy and national security: five key issues

5 December 2013 (The Guardian)

Safeguarding Britain's interests abroad requires diplomats who can speak languages. In a recent live chat on the Guardian, a panel of experts debated the importance of languages for diplomacy and national security. Five key themes emerged from that conversation.

  • Diplomacy and national security
  • The scale of the threats
  • Fluency vs functionality
  • The cost of language training
  • The American perspective

Read more...

Languages and STEM skills - opening doors!

5 December 2013 (Education Scotland )

SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, is working with businesses and schools in Scotland to promote languages as a key skill for employment.

Operating effectively in a global economy relies on many skills and includes the right language skills. People who can communicate, at least conversationally, can make all the difference in the conduct of business, consolidating relationships with existing suppliers and customers and opening the way to new overseas contacts. When combined with STEM skills, the career opportunities in a vast array of sectors widens.

Read more...

David Cameron urges British students to ditch French and learn Mandarin

5 December 2013 (The Guardian)

David Cameron, who has notoriously poor schoolboy French, is urging today's youngsters to abandon the language of Molière and Voltaire to concentrate on the tongue of the future – Mandarin.

In a parting shot, as he left China after a three-day visit, the prime minister said that pupils should look beyond the traditional French and German lessons and instead focus on China.

To reinforce his message the prime minister quoted Nelson Mandela, who said learning someone else's language is the best way to their heart. Cameron said: "I want Britain linked up to the world's fast-growing economies. And that includes our young people learning the languages to seal tomorrow's business deals.

Read more...

UK-China higher education links strengthened

4 December 2013 (British Council)

British Council Chief Executive, Martin Davidson CMG, hosted an event at the UK-China Business Summit in Beijing for the launch of the ‘Generation UK CEO Initiative’ and signing of a number of UK-China education partnership agreements. The ‘Generation UK & Celebrating UK-China Education Partnerships’ event brought together a mixed audience of education and business leaders to celebrate several initiatives further supporting student mobility and educational exchanges between the UK and China.  

The Generation UK CEO Initiative was launched to gain the help and support of businesses in the UK and China to further expand the number of opportunities available for students through the British Council’s Generation UK campaign. Generation UK was launched in June this year with support from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and aims to see at least 15,000 UK students participate in academic study or work experience programmes in China over the next 3 years.

Read more...

Languages are vital for Britain's business & cultural development

25 November 2013 (The Information Daily)

Learning different languages is vital, not just for the growth of trade and business, but for Britain's political, cultural and education development. In many European countries, it's the norm for people to speak a second or even a third language - so why is Britain so stubbornly monolingual?

The recent European Survey on Language Competences found that just one in ten British teenagers progress past the most fundamental level in a second language, compared with an average of 42 per cent across all countries surveyed.

Clearly, this is a problem - although part of the problem may be how easy it is for Brits not to learn a second language.

Read more...

Shortfall in the languages the UK needs the most

20 November 2013 (The Guardian)

Three-quarters of the UK public are unable to speak one of the 10 most important languages for the country's future, a British Council report has found.

The British Council has called on government and business to work together to develop educational policy and priorities relating to languages. This follows a YouGov poll commissioned by the British Council, which found that of 4000 UK adults polled, 75% are unable to hold a conversation in any of the languages highlighted as crucial to the UK's economic standing.

The Languages for the Future report identified those languages, in order of importance, as: Spanish, Arabic, French, Mandarin, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish and Japanese.

Read more...

Related Links

Read the British Council report here.

'Alarming shortage' of foreign language skills in UK (BBC, 20 November 2013)

UK warned over shortage of foreign language speakers (BBC News, 20 November 2013) - includes a link to audio item 'But why are British students so behind with foreign language skills?' BBC Radio 5 live's Breakfast reporter Rowan Bridge visited language teachers and students at Manchester College to find out.  (Available to listen to until Wednesday 27 November 2013).

Britons are told they must learn languages of success (The Herald, 20 November 2013)

Arabic beats French, Mandarin beats German and Spanish is best: UK's international education body highlights most important foreign languages to learn (The Independent, 20 November 2013)

Poor Language Skills 'Hampering UK Economy' (Sky News, 20 November 2013)

Languages must be as important as maths and science, British Council says (TES News blog, 20 November 2013)

Languages - Gift of bilingualism is too often 'squandered' (TES, 22 November 2013)

Scottish Confucius Institute established at Heriot-Watt University

05 November 2013 (Heriot-Watt University)

Scotland's educational links with China have been taken to the next level, after an agreement was struck to establish a Confucius Institute at Heriot-Watt University, the first to specialise in business and communication.

The Institute, the fifth Confucius Institute in Scotland, will aim to help Scottish companies to engage with China and increase the provision of Chinese language learning for business purposes.

Read more...

Educating Yorkshire's Mr Mitchell talks MFL

3 October 2013 (Teachit Languages)

Unless you’ve been living on the moon recently, you surely can’t have escaped the media furore around Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire. The students and staff of Dewsbury’s Thornhill Academy are keeping us entertained every Thursday…in the journalistic scoop of the century, Teachit Languages editor Heike Bruton managed to secure an interview with Thornhill Academy’s headteacher, Jonny Mitchell!

Read more...

Languages for All?

1 October 2013 (Inside Higher Ed)

The organizers of Monday's daylong "Languages For All?" conference at the University of Maryland said more than once that the event, in the words of the university's Director of Language Policy Initiatives Richard Brecht, "is not about advocacy, this is about inquiry." But it was clear that the 150 or so professors, researchers, policy makers and government employees in attendance vehemently promote at least one stance: that languages are critical, and that Americans' unwillingness and/or disinterest in learning them is holding the country back.

Read more...

Launch of Born Global: Rethinking language policy for 21st Century Britain

23 September 2013 (British Academy)

Today the British Academy launched a new policy research project, ‘Born Global’, investigating the nature and extent of language needs in the labour market and the implications for languages education from school to higher education.

As a key project in the British Academy’s language programme, the research aims to develop a deeper understanding of how language is used in the workplace for different purposes, by employees of different levels of skill and accountability. It will explore employers’ expectations of language competence and investigate the reasons for their dissatisfaction with the current language capabilities of school and college leavers and university graduates.

Read more...

Why are so few of us learning another language? Call for action by Richard Howitt MEP after decline

23 September 2013 (Cambridge News)

A call for action to reverse the “severe decline” in young people learning foreign languages has been made by Cambridgeshire’s representative in Brussels.

Richard Howitt MEP said knowledge of at least one other European language is important given that so much of the UK’s trade is done with the rest of Europe, despite English being recognised as the world language.

Read more...

Key Findings: Languages in business – 70% of companies do not keep record of staff language skills

16 September 2013 (Language Rich Europe Blog)

Language Rich Europe developed a survey to explore the language strategies of companies, to find out whether they prioritise and support language training for their employees, and also to establish the range of languages used to communicate with customers and in promotional materials. The criteria investigated are divided into three main categories: general company language strategies, internal language strategies, and external language strategies.

Read more...

Commission highlights benefits of foreign language skills for UK students and business

16 September 2013 (WiredGov)

More needs to be done to encourage British students to study languages at A Level and university, according to the European Commission. The importance of foreign language skills is self-evident in all EU countries, given that businesses increasingly operate internationally: more than half of the UK's trade is with the rest of Europe - and its businesses need staff who can speak the language of their customers. The Commission will underline this at a conference during the London Language Show next month (18 October).

Read more...

Calling all multilingual IT whizzes: skills shortage hits firms

31 August 2013 (Irish Independent)

Every year, the Government's Expert Group on Future Skills Needs publishes a snapshot of the supply and demand of skills in Ireland.

Multilingual skills are a key aspect of some of the skill shortages.

Read more...

Is only speaking English enough to compete in the jobs market?

19 July 2013 (The Guardian)

English may be a world language, but is it really enough to compete in the global job race?

Read more...

Which countries want to be influential and attractive?

19 June 2013 (British Council)

A new British Council report, ‘Influence and Attraction: Culture and the Race for Soft Power in the 21st Century’, discusses global trends in cultural relations and soft power. Anne Bostanci explains.

Read more...

Exporters: Foreign Language Skills

18 June 2013 (TheyWorkForYou)

Question put to the House of Lords by Baroness Coussins “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider introducing financial incentives for non-exporting businesses that train existing staff to export, in line with the recommendations of the British Chambers of Commerce report Exporting is good for Britain but knowledge gaps and language skills hold back exporters, published on 10 June.”

Visit the website to view the Government's response.

Read more...

BCC: Knowledge gaps and language skills hold back exporters

10 June 2013 (British Chambers of Commerce)

A survey of more than 4,500 businesses released today (Monday) by the British Chambers of Commerce shows that the share of Chamber members which export continues to increase. However, the findings also suggest that gaps surrounding the general know-how of how to take a product or service overseas are holding back firms from taking the initial step towards exporting. In addition to this, there is a major shortfall in foreign language skills within the business community. Rebalancing the economy towards net exports is vital for the success of the UK economy, so the British Chambers of Commerce is calling for more support for firms looking to trade overseas, while encouraging the take-up of foreign languages – both in school and in the workplace.

Read more...

Related Links

Addressing knowledge gaps and the deficit in foreign language skills will boost exports (BCC, 10 June 2013)  The results of the BCC's 2013 international trade survey show that companies continue to be held back from exporting by lack of knowledge and poor foreign language skills.

Poor language skills are deal-breaker for economy, says BCC (The Times, 10 June 2013)

 

British ambassadors struggle with Arabic

31 May 2013 (The Telegraph)

Only six of the 16 British Ambassadors in the Arab world speak enough Arabic to be able to conduct official business in the language, the Foreign Office has disclosed.

Read more...

Students go abroad to immerse themselves in a new culture

14 May 2013 (The Guardian)

UK universities are setting up campuses overseas to meet international demand, but studying on a foreign campus also has many benefits for UK students.

Read more...

Asos launches ventures in Russia and China as profits leap 19%

30 April 2013 (The Guardian)

Online clothing retailer Asos is launching businesses in Russia and China and planning a new £40m "tax efficient" pay deal for its top 24 staff.  The retailer – which has six million customers in the UK, US, France, Germany and Australia – announced the expansion as it reported a 19% rise in interim profits and a 33% jump in sales to £360m.

The new Chinese-language website, due in October, will cost up to £6m to launch, including a distribution hub with 10% of Asos's current stock.  A new website is launching in Russia on Wednesday.

Read more...

The multilingual dividend

13 March 2013 (Financial Times)

A few years ago, when Antonella Sorace visited the European Central Bank in Frankfurt to talk about her research into bilingualism, she was astonished to find the bank’s multinational staff worrying about what should have been one of their families’ principal assets. “They had all kinds of doubts about the benefits of multilingualism for their children; they worried that their children weren’t learning to read or write properly – in any language,” she says. “I found it very instructive.”

Read more...

Question to the House of Lords on ‘Languages: The State of the Nation’ report

12 March 2013 (Hansard)

Baroness Coussins put the following question to the House of Lords: To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the conclusion of the British Academy's report Languages: The State of the Nation, published in February, that the United Kingdom will be unable to meet its aspirations for growth and global influence unless action is taken by them, businesses and in education to remedy the deficit in foreign language skills.  See the full debate transcript on the website.

Read more...

Related Links

Languages: The State of the Nation (British Academy, February 2013)

Cracking the English code

12 March 2013 (British Influence)

(Relates to England) There was much embarrassment recently for Michael Gove when the cabinet's golden boy announced that he would not, after all, be replacing GCSEs with a new English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBC). Part of the reasoning for Gove's EBC had been to increase the take-up of modern European (as well as other) languages – where research shows that there are clear advantages in terms of cognitive skills and understanding.

Read more...

Culture at work - The value of intercultural skills in the workplace

5 March 2013 (British Council)

This research, published by the British Council, shows that there is real business value in employing staff who have the ability to work effectively with individuals and organisations from cultural backgrounds different from their own. In particular, employers highlight the following as important intercultural skills:

  • the ability to understand different cultural contexts and viewpoints
  • demonstrating respect for others 
  • knowledge of a foreign language

The findings of this report may help teachers argue the case for languages with pupils, parents and colleagues.

Read more...

Related Links

Avoiding cultural chalk and cheese in the world of business (British Council blog, 5 March 2013)John Worne, the British Council’s Director of Strategy, argues that a lack of intercultural skills can be a big risk in the business world, as our recent research shows.

English as the language of Europe?

26 February 2013 (Language Rich blog)

In this guest post, Christiane Keilig from the British Council in Berlin shares her views on why just English isn’t enough.

Read more...

No comprende: are the benefits of languages getting lost in translation?

20 February 2013 (The Guardian)

We need to find new ways to express the importance of learning languages, writes Professor Nigel Vincent. At the British Academy last week we released a report called Languages: State of the Nation. It analyses the worrying state of the current demand and supply of language skills in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and is the latest in a series of reports and position papers we have dedicated in recent years to the declining status of languages in our schools and universities. The aim of all our work is to drive home the message that languages are vital for the health and wellbeing of the education and research base, for UK business competitiveness and political standing, and for individuals and society at large.

Read more...

The Job Profile is Decisive – Foreign Languages in the Workplace

17 January 2013 (Goethe-Institut)

In today's professional world, knowledge of foreign languages is an indispensable skill and a must-have on any resume. Still, studies show that while good foreign language skills play an increasingly important role in the workplace, every situation is different.

Read more...

Why aren't languages a more popular choice at university?

15 January 2013 (The Independent)

It seems as if languages are not a popular choice of course at university nowadays. Once upon a time, learning a language and studying its literature was considered a solid choice of degree, but now there's a perception that they might be a bit of a waste of time.

Read more...

Accent is on language as Scots coaches prepare to start SFA’s UEFA Pro Licence course

6 January 2013 (Daily Record)

Football has become global. And Scotland’s managers are about to follow suit.

The latest candidates for the SFA’s UEFA Pro Licence will gather at Hampden today to kick off the two-year course they now need to boss at the elite level of European football.

But for the first time since the course began in 1999, candidates must learn a second language as part of their studies.

Read more...

Recent reports stress the importance of language skills for business

17 December 2012 (European Commission)

Communication and languages are crucial to business in a globalised economy. New evidence found in two reports published in the UK and in Ireland.

Read more...

Foreign languages: the 10 easiest to learn

5 December 2012 (The Telegraph)

We English speakers have a bad reputation in the world of language. According to a European Commission survey in 2012, 61 per cent of British respondents could not speak a second language. However, with growing foreign economies and more global communication than ever before, languages are becoming a crucial skill for professionals.

The related article below outlines the languages rated most useful to business by UK firm managers.  Ironically, whilst not listed as one of the easiest to learn, German language skills are the most highly sought after by UK businesses.

Read more...

Related Links

Graduate jobs: Best languages to study (The Telegraph, 2012)

Foreign languages - the 10 easiest to learn (in pictures) (The Telegraph, 5 December 2012)

Foreign language skills 'cost Scottish businesses'

27 November 2012 (BBC News)

A widespread lack of language skills could be damaging Scotland's ability to trade abroad, a report has suggested.  The British Council study warned there was a tendency among Scottish firms to limit their export markets to English-speaking countries.

Read more...

Related Links

Fears raised for overseas trade as young Scots shy away from studying foreign languages (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)
A crisis in foreign language teaching across Scottish education is damaging overseas trade, the British Council warns today.

Analysis: Speaking the lingo goes to prove that it’s not only travel that broadens the mind (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Leaders: Greater language skills key to breaking trade barriers (The Scotsman, 27 November 2012)

Crisis in study of languages a risk to trade (The Herald, 27 November 2012)
A lack of foreign language skills is limiting the ability of Scottish companies to tap into lucrative overseas export markets, according to a new report.

Kaye asks why Scots are so bad at learning foreign languages (Call Kaye, BBC Radio Scotland, 27 November 2012) - programme available until 3 December 2012.

Trade danger of language teaching cuts (Scottish Daily Express, 27 November 2012)

Language cuts 'will hit Scottish economy' (Morning Star, 27 November 2012)

Language Rich Europe - Scotland (British Council, 2012)

Languages and Entrepreneurship. A Guide for Students

21 November 2012 (Higher Education Academy)

The time spent studying, working or volunteering abroad during a degree programme is an excellent opportunity to identify and start up a new business. However, too few students are aware of entrepreneurship before or during their international placement.

This report shows that students who speak foreign languages, travel and understand other cultures have a unique entrepreneurial opportunity. It encourages students to look at placements abroad in a more critical and innovative way, to be aware of business opportunities and to make use of the start-up support, networks and services available when starting a business.

Read more...

Foreign Languages took pride of place at the Institute of Welsh Affairs / Western Mail Business Awards

16 November 2012 (CILT Cymru)

On Friday the 9th of November, the profile of Modern Foreign Languages was raised at the Institute of Welsh Affairs / Western Mail Business Awards.

The newly created Award, The Best Use of Foreign Languages in Business Award recognised those Welsh companies who actively use foreign languages to develop strong markets abroad.

Read more...

European personalities urge EU leaders to back Erasmus

9 November 2012 (European Commission)

More than 100 European personalities from the worlds of education, art, literature, economics, philosophy and sport have signed an open letter to EU Heads of State and Government in support of the threatened Erasmus student exchange programme. The signatories come from every Member State of the EU and include the Spanish film director Pedro Almodovar, the president of FC Barcelona Sandro Rosell, Nobel Prize winner Professor Christopher Pissarides and several Olympic champions.

Read more...

Related Links

Record Number of UK Students Study or Work Abroad in Europe with Erasmus (British Council, 16 November 2012)

A foreign language is the best way to stand out in tough job market

7 November 2012 (Business Insider)

Looking for another way to stand out in a tough job market, plus increase your competitiveness and versatility down the road in your career? If you can commit to adding one or more languages to your resume, you’ll instantly stand out from the crowd.

Read more...

Scotland keen to promote conversation with China: official

31 October 2012 (NZ Week)

Edinburgh, Oct. 30 — Scottish Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Language Alasdair Allan on Tuesday highlighted the importance of Scottish links with China to promote mutual understanding and friendship. Allan made the remarks at a reception at the Scottish Parliament held here for the two-week “Scotland in Conversation with China” under the theme of “Defining Scotland’s Distinctive Identity in an Era of Globalization The Chinese Perspective”.

Read more...

Gillard: Australia must embrace 'Asian Century'

30 October 2012 (CNN)

Every Australian child should learn Mandarin, Hindi or other regional language as the nation's future is tied to the rise of the "Asian Century," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in a policy speech on Sunday.

Read more...

A Point Of View: Making sense of China

12th October 2012 (BBC News)

China's growing importance on the world stage means that the West needs to start speaking its language, says economist Martin Jacques.

Read more...

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