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Business brunches inspire Scotland’s future global workforce

17 December 2018 (SCILT)

Over 200 young people met with local employers at the largest business and languages engagement event to date! Twenty-five schools from across the west of Scotland were represented at the Business Brunch in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 5 December 2018. The event saw learners from S3-S6 engage with employers from a range of sectors, all who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

A teacher attending the event said: “All my pupils came away from the event with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for languages, and I have had emails from parents commenting how excited and motivated pupils were in sharing their experiences of the event. It is a fantastic opportunity for pupils to be exposed to a range of different people, careers and industries.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “I gained an understanding of the successes that the speakers had achieved due to them having knowledge of another language.”

Gordon Robb, VR Growth and one of the speakers, stated: “What a fantastic opportunity for young people thinking about leaning languages to find out what a difference it can make to them and their future opportunities in business.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at the University of Strathclyde in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland.

Schools represented were All Saints RC Secondary School, Alloa Academy, Ardrossan Academy, Auchinleck Academy, Bishopbriggs Academy, Boclair Academy, Caldervale High School, Cathkin High School, Clydebank High School, Duncanrig Secondary School, Eastwood High School, Grange Academy, Gryffe High School, Hamilton College, Hyndland Secondary School, John Paul Academy, Linwood High School, Paisley Grammar School, Renfrew High School, Sanquhar Academy, Smithycroft Secondary School, St Aidan's High School, St Ninian's High School, St. Andrew's High School and The Glasgow Academy.

Companies attending included Albion Overseas Ltd, Radio Lingua Ltd, Russian Centre in Scotland 'Haven', Scottish Engineering, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and VR Growth Ltd.

The following businesses supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace: Alex Begg, BSL Partnership in Scotland, Food and Drink Federation Scotland, Founders4Schools, Glasgow Life, IBM, KF German Translations, Supreme Tours Ltd, The Open University in Scotland, University of Glasgow and University of Strathclyde. 

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important than ever that we equip our young people with the skills they will need for life beyond school.  We want them to be outward-looking and able to operate in an interdependent world. Events such as these highlight the importance of language skills and intercultural competencies in the world of work.

“The business leaders who speak at these events give of their own time because they understand how much these skills are needed and valued by employers and how vital they are for Scotland’s business community. This kind of collaboration is an example of how education and business sectors can work together for their mutual benefit so that we can support young people and help them develop the portfolio of skills that employers require in their workforce.”

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 December 2018 and January 2019.

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