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Business brunches inspire Scotland’s future global workforce

12 February 2019 (SCILT)

Young people from eleven schools across the north east of Scotland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Aberdeen Marriott Hotel in Dyce on 31 January 2019. 116 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 the event said: “Pupils today discovered that language learning can be the key to gaining decent employment. Languages can literally take you around the world and can even help you to fall in love.”

One of the young people added to this and commented: “Today I learnt that languages are an important thing to have a basic knowledge of. Languages are good for work.”

Edward Welch from the University of Aberdeen and a speaker at the event said: “The Business Brunch is a great way for students to find out about the exciting opportunities opened up by learning languages and discovering other cultures. Hearing speakers from different professions talk about how language skills have helped their career was really inspiring and hopefully motivated students to keep studying languages through school and into university.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with DYW North East together with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS).  Schools represented were Aboyne Academy, Alford Academy, Banchory Academy, Banff Academy, Lochside Academy, Meldrum Academy, Mintlaw Academy, Oldmachar Academy, St Margaret's School for Girls, The Gordon Schools and Turriff Academy.

Companies attending included Dragados, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Ernst and Young LLP and the University of Aberdeen. The following businesses supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace: Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education, Founders4Schools, the Scotland-Russia Forum and The Open University in Scotland. 

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.

More information on SCILT’s 2019 Business Brunches.

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