SIG Wider Engagement Network

Following a manifesto commitment in September 2011, the Government set up a Languages Working Group (LWG) to consider how to deliver a ‘1+2’ languages model, whereby children are able to learn two additional languages in addition to their mother tongue by 2020. The LWG recommended that a Strategic Implementation Group (SIG) be established to develop an engagement strategy and oversee delivery of the 1+2 policy commitment. 

In January 2016 the members of this SIG (Education) agreed that a successful language policy in schools is necessary but is not sufficient to ensure sustained implementation of languages.  As a result, a second group called the SIG Wider Engagement Network was created to take forward some of the actions concerning direct engagement with employers and industry, further and higher education, and community partners.

Attitudes to and perceptions about learning a language need to change in society as a whole. All stakeholders need to be convinced of the necessity and benefits of language learning for the individual and for Scotland’s economy and standing in the world. The SIG Wider Engagement Network aims to change attitudes towards languages in wider society.

This includes key issues such as, but not limited to:

  • Promoting life-long language learning in all educational establishments (from early years to degree level) and within the workplace
  • Endorsing language and culture as key skills to grow the Scottish economy, increase trade and exporting, and enhance the future prosperity of Scotland and our influence in the world
  • Raising awareness of opportunities for and value of international mobility and experiences
  • Promoting the significance of intercultural competences
  • Developing a shared commitment to supporting employers and industry to engage with languages
  • Recognising the important role that charities and community groups play in supporting language learning, including maintenance of mother tongue, heritage and minority languages
  • Key reading
  • Members
Erasmus+ logo
Erasmus+ project on behalf of SIG Wider Engagement Network

In 2018 SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages, submitted a successful bid on behalf of the Wider Engagement Network to facilitate the key languages foci of employer and industry engagement, and attitudinal change in wider society to secure Erasmus+ funding for a three year international project. The project partners are the respective national centres for languages in Denmark and Norway.

Generation Global: Multilingualism and intercultural skills for a dual-competency workforce of the future project addresses, amongst others, the skills gap and language deficit that currently exists.  A cornerstone of the project is that in the 21st century, although English has become the 'lingua franca' for global trade it is not enough for young people in Scotland who have English as their native language nor for those in Denmark and Norway who typically have an excellent command of English as a second language.   Young people will need a wider range of language skills and to improve intercultural understanding to become effective participants in a future global workforce.  Furthermore, the wealth and diversity of languages that migrants, refugees, asylum seekers bring, along with minority and heritage languages such as Gaelic, Sami and Faroese must be celebrated and capitalised upon for the benefit of individual young people but also for the greater economic development and international trade of our countries.

The project has three primary audiences:

  • The first audience is business - the dialogue between education and business is vital if the supply of language skills from education systems is to be better matched to the needs of the labour market.
  • The second target group are career staff/consultants, policy makers, school leaders, university staff, and curricula writers. Associated partners from this group will help to provide and find a practical solution regarding the dual competence based on the demand from business.
  • The third target group of the project are young people – both European citizens, and migrants and refugees. Parents/carers will also be included in the third and the last phase of the project. These young people are Generation Global, our dual-competency workforce of the future.
The project aims:
  • To change attitude toward language learning, more specifically to increase the awareness of value of multilingualism (foreign languages and mother tongue languages) as well as Intercultural Communicative Competences (ICC) as dual competences.
  • To increase awareness in careers/skills organisations and staff to be more knowledgeable about dual competences and languages/ICC skills relevance.
  • To elicit employers and businesses to recognise and demand Languages and ICC skills.
  • To equip the users better for the labour market through an increased level of languages and cultural knowledge and thus combat skills deficit that currently exits.
  • To develop, test and implement innovative approaches to motivate young people to choose more languages and be aware of intercultural similarities and differences.

‘Generation Global’ launched in September 2018 with partners gathering in Glasgow for the inaugural meeting. Follow updates on Twitter.

Latest News

View all news

N5 Gaelic (Learners) course More...

Student mentors help pupils say ‘si’ to GCSE languages More...

Applications to train as language teachers up by a fifth More...

Scottish Languages Employability Award consultation More...