With A Level results recently published there have been plenty of stories in the news about the lack of university places for some students and the increase in the number of students bypassing further education and opting to go straight into work. This got me thinking about some figures recently published about languages.
According to the National Centre for Languages (CILT) recent figures show that there has been a 3.7% fall in the number of students sitting A-levels in modern languages. Whilst there may have been an increase in those sitting the Spanish exam, those taking German and French both decreased which seems to have become a recurring theme over the years. But why is this the case? Continue reading
We’ve blogged before about the falling number of students taking GCSEs in languages. According to CILT, the National Centre for Languages, this year only 44% of GSCE students took a language – compared to 78% ten years ago. We all know that today’s marketplace is becoming more global and without the language skills that enable us to communicate on a global scale, UK business is going to suffer dramatically in the future.
With this in mind I was pleased to see on Twitter recently a link to a petition calling for the re-introduction of a compulsory language GSCE. Please click on the link below and sign your name – hopefully it will be given some serious consideration.
Our recent press release!
We’re in a recession but the UK economy is losing out because of our lack of language skills. That was the message from the European Award for Languages 2009, where multi lingual recruiter Euro London Appointments sponsored the Business Language Prize.
The ceremony reinforced the message that languages are key to the UK workplace. Baroness Coussins, Chair of the Parliamentary group on modern languages, quoted recent research that found the UK loses up to £21 billion a year in lost contracts because of the lack of language skills in the British workforce. She also pointed out that teams from 205 countries will be participating in the London Olympic Games in just three years time and urged language learners to continue working hard to turn around the negative stereotype surrounding Brits and languages.
“As a company that not only recruits multi lingual personnel, but whose staff all speak another language, we really appreciate how important languages are to the business world” says David Shacklock, Managing Director of Euro London Appointments. “It’s great to get involved in projects like this and encourage language learning, which is crucial to ensure that we have enough talented linguists to make up the next generation of business leaders. These figures are just more evidence that more needs to be done when it comes to language learning. That missing £21 billion could go a long way to lifting us out of this recession.”
Euro London awarded the Business Language Prize of £1000 to a project called ‘Eurofest’ for developing language provision to match the needs of business and employers. The awards were held in Bristol by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, to reward language learning projects from around the UK. They also featured journalist, broadcaster and keen linguist, Henry Bonsu, as Master of Ceremonies.
It’s a widely held belief that Britons aren’t the best at learning languages. But it seems that the Irish share our lack of linguistic ability. The Irish Independent reports that according to the latest Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, over 23% of employers complain that Irish graduates lack fluency in a foreign language. The article also says that Chinese and Japanese are growing in popularity in Irish schools, with these nations becoming increasingly significant in the business world.
Professor Fan Hong of the Institute of Chinese studies at UCC is working to try and get Chinese taught in more Irish schools. He says: “Mandarin will become an important language for Ireland in the 21st century. People have to realise that if you want to find a job, you have to be able to communicate in other languages. It may not be necessary to learn the language so that you speak it fluently. But some basic knowledge will certainly help people. Mandarin is now a major language of business.”
Both in Ireland and in the UK there does not seem to be enough emphasis on the importance of language learning due to English being the lingua franca. Teaching languages like Chinese would be a great move forward as at Euro London we see a constant demand for candidates with Asian languages. More work like this needs to be done to get children learning languages at an earlier age and to encourage them to continue with their language studies.
If you’re a company interested in promoting language learning then visit CILT – Euro London have been involved with the Business Language Champions project for 2 years now and it’s a fantastic way to show young people just what opportunities languages can bring.