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Inspiring the future global workforce in North Ayrshire

12 November 2018 (SCILT)

Young people from seven North Ayrshire schools had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at Prestwick Airport on 6 November 2018. Over 80 S3-S6 pupils heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The event “Broaden your horizons with languages” 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.

Pupils attended from Ardrossan Academy, Arran High School, Auchenharvie Academy, Greenwood Academy, Irvine Royal Academy, Largs Academy and St Matthew’s Academy.

A teacher from Greenwood Academy said:  “The event made languages very relevant to our pupils. All the opportunities and perks that languages bring had not crossed their minds before.”

A teacher from Irvine Royal Academy added: “Today’s event gave learners real life examples of how people need languages in a wide range of jobs.  The messages around the value of languages were very clear from each presenter.”

Jim Fleeting, former Director of Football Development at the Scottish Football Association, stated: “It is so exciting to be involved in a session like this. I would encourage young people to be ambitious to take up the challenge of learning languages. They will be a valuable asset for their future.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Ayrshire. Companies attending included Choice Language, Alex Begg, Skills Development Scotland, KF German Translations, Project Trust, Radio Lingua, ARCS Partnership and easyJet.

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 event 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 employer engagement events being held across Ayrshire during this academic session. These events are organised by SCILT and DYW Ayrshire and aim to promote language skills.

More information on the work of SCILT to promote languages for employability.

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