What about working at Euro London?
Michael Classen has been a recruiter at Euro London Appointments for 5 years. Fluent in Italian, he is Associate Manager of the Sales, Marketing and PR Division. Today, here comes again our mini series of articles on “Being a Recruiter”. Last week, Michael told us more about what is recruitment. Today, he shares with us information about what it’s like to work at Euro London Appointments!
The rest of Europe may jump to the conclusion that it’s la belle vie when it comes to the French working week, with the stereotypes of the 35 hour week and 2 hour lunches. However not all is as it seems, the 35 hour working week is often but words on a contract ignored not by employers but by employees. Many find 35 hours not enough time to get their work done, especially in sales roles where this extra work will mostly relate to extra commission! And as for the lunches you’re more likely to find your staff in McDo than eating at the local bistro with a Coca Light not a glass of wine.
The average French employee works 6.1 hours more than the standard 35 hour ‘myth’ which is less than some of its European neighbours known for their work ethic. However it’s not all about time but also efficiency, as you can see from the 2nd chart people obviously aren’t sat around munching on patisserie all day.
However the French workforce also benefits from some of the best employee protection globally and excellent company benefits such as excellent healthcare, ticket resto and half of all Greater Parisian transport paid for. That means half subsidised lunch (McDo or elsewhere) and a 35 euro (27 GBP) monthly transport cost for the whole of Greater Paris (as of September 2015) as opposed to the £123 – £288 in Greater London.
Alors… The conclusion is France is a country where the workforce work hard and because of that enjoys excellent benefits. If you’ve got the right attitude you can make it in a company and there is definitely money and job satisfaction to be found.
If you’re interested in living in France and are a motivated candidate then why not get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past couple of weeks the UK’s 16-18 year olds have been waiting nervously as they bite their nails for their GCSE and A-level results. For many it would have been a joyous occasion, receiving the grades to get into that college or university you’ve been dreaming of to start the next chapter of your life. Along with these groups of individuals there has also been some great news for languages as there has been a major increase in the take-up of modern foreign languages; which is the biggest increase for the first time in 10 years.
The Shadow Education Secretary was pleased to see numbers finally increasing as pupils decided to take on a foreign language for GCSE. He stated that the Nations school language strategy had a positive impact on the number of students choosing language as an option as numbers rose from a dreary 35% to an astonishing 92% in 2008. Not only have languages been on the increase so have the subjects’ grades. Despite recent articles revealing that this year GCSE results had been the lowest in 25 years, the language GCSE’s have been some of the best results that languages have seen.
The only downfall on this is that many of these students are abandoning languages as a subject as soon as they hit their A-levels. Michael Grobe, the Education secretary has expressed his concerns as this trend may continue. With a number of universities closing down languages departments it is a trend to cause concern if languages are not considered when choosing a course at higher education.
If this trend continues it will continue to dumbfound us. Knowing a second language can offer endless opportunities throughout a lifetime. Leave a comment and let us know how leaning a second language has helped you.
When it comes to language learning in the UK, the figures aren’t great. Less and less students are taking languages but we’re hearing more and more stories about the increased importance put on learning them. So where do we stand? I think that more needs to be done to encourage young people to study languages and there must be a clearer policy when it comes to languages in education.
Since 2004, studying a language at GCSE has been optional in the UK, however the new English Baccalaureate will only be awarded to students that take GCSEs in language subjects. Furthermore, there are set to be changes to the way league tables are calculated to encourage more students to take languages, and Universities like UCL will soon only consider applicants who have studied a language at GCSE level.
We are giving young people such mixed messages when it comes to studying languages. One minute languages are optional but then they won’t get the English Bac without them – is this a case of a bit too little, too late? With schools and students both unsure of where they stand when it comes to language learning, the current situation is too contradictory and I think that languages should again become compulsory to ensure the UK remains competitive and that British students get the best future job prospects.
As business becomes increasingly international, languages have become a crucial skill for employers, but we’re finding fewer and fewer British graduates with strong language skills as those that took their GCSEs once languages were no longer compulsory are now coming out of the education system. This needs to change if we want young people to have the best chance of finding a job and if we want British business to remain competitive.
What do you think?
Why the government made languages optional, as the business world becomes increasingly international, is still somewhat of a mystery to me. Employers need more linguists than ever to help them build and maintain strong relationships with customers and colleagues overseas, but statistics show there are less and less young people learning languages at school since they stopped being compulsory. A recent report by Ofsted highlights that some state schools have not one pupil taking a foreign language GCSE and only a third have reached the target of having half of their students taking a modern language GCSE.
It seems that rather than admit the error of its ways and make languages compulsory once again, the government is trying to come up with other ways of producing future linguists. It is proposing that the way schools are ranked is changed and saying that they should be judged on the level of success at GCSE in five subjects, one of which is a foreign language.
Although if this does happen it will hopefully increase the number of young people learning languages, is it too little too late? Many schools are not geared up for such high levels of language teaching after the government made them compulsory – “You can’t have schools judged against criteria that were not previously in place,” said National Union of Teachers leader Christine Blower.
So, what will happen in the future? Whatever legislation the government decides to implement, we hope that schools will be encouraged to get as many of their students as possible taking languages, and encourage them to pursue these subjects past the age of 16. Language skills can lead to some great jobs – see our posts in the category ‘language jobs’ if you need proof!
Seven years after the Labour government removed the compulsory requirement for students to study a foreign language at age fourteen, the Government of today looks set to change things. A recent article in the Guardian reports that in a shake-up of the league tables, the number of pupils taking a language should increase.
New plans will see every school rewarded for the amount of students who achieve good grades in English, maths, science, a language and one humanity subject. Currently, some schools are seen to boost their league table scores through offering softer subjects like media. This is great news and should see the number of pupils learning a second language increase to the levels seen prior to 2003. In fact, if schools want to rate high in the league tables it will see languages at GCSE being compulsory. With more pupils studying language GCSE’s we hope this will result in more carrying on studying them at A-Level and university.
We know only too well that more and more businesses are looking for candidates who can speak more than one language. When entering the job market they will be in a good position if they can show they have language skills. What do you think of the proposal; will it result in more people entering the job market with language skills?
Is this the way forward? Simply not allowing pupils into a particular sixth form if they have not studied a language at GCSE? Well according to two schools in Essex it is the very answer! Both schools have claimed that from 2012 no pupils will be accepted into their sixth form unless they have at least one GCSE in a language – furthermore they have to have gained at least a C grade!
Harsh or fair you may ask? Can you really turn pupils away if they do not fit this requirement? Apparently so and the reason the two schools are giving is the deepening language crisis in the UK. The news has been filled with stories in recent months about a reduction in the number of pupils taking up GCSE’s in languages – after all it is now no longer compulsory and we have blogged on the subject very recently.
So is this the right way to go? Should more schools take this hard-line approach? We’re not saying we think they should, but what is clear is the need for the issue to be addressed. We need more people learning different languages at a younger age so perhaps this approach may prove positive and encourage more kids to take languages. More and more companies are demanding it from candidates and it proves beneficial to those who chose to do so.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens and if other schools and colleges follow this trend. Let’s hope though that in the future the government does something drastic to address the problem we are seeing with language take up at GCSE and A-Level.
When you learn a language at school, say for GCSE or at A-Level are you equipped with the necessary skills to get by in the country in question? This was the question asked in a recent article on the BBC. We all know that the uptake of languages at GCSE and A-Level is decreasing but for those who do pursue a language are they coming out with just a qualification or do they have the ability to speak the language?
The BBC article suggests not and whilst French is generally the language us Brits can speak, or can say a few words in even those that pursue it often don’t come away with an ability to speak it. In fact language expert Paul Noble goes as far as to say that “students realise that even if they do get a GCSE in French, they still won’t be able to speak the language”
So does this explain the reason why students are not taking up the language? It may be one reason but another one is surely that it is not compulsory to do so. If it were students may be inclined to carry on learning the language after GCSE.
We’ve blogged about this issue before and we certainly think that languages should be compulsory but what we also believe is that students should be taught in such a way that they can speak the language once they have finished their learning. Maybe a possible option is to make exchanges with other countries mandatory so pupils visit the country and have to speak the language?
What are your thoughts? If you studied a language at school were you able to speak it when you finished the course?
There has been a lot of controversy lately over Ed Balls’ announcement that all children should be given the opportunity to learn Mandarin, the world’s most popular language. Critics called it a gimmick, saying that there wouldn’t be enough teachers and that the government should instead concentrate on addressing the lack of mainstream language learning.
On the one hand, these critics do have a point – why is the government suggesting that there should be more language learning when in fact they made the studying of a language at GCSE optional? This decision led to a dramatic drop in the number of teenagers taking languages at school. However coming from a company that understands the importance of languages, and relies on language skills as a basis for the business, I also think this idea is great – any move to encourage more language learning is a step in the right direction.
One particular critic is Harry Mount, who wrote a piece for the Telegraph on the issue here, in which he says “in any case, though, why should employers dictate which languages we learn? Schools aren’t just training grounds for offices, pragmatic laboratories for the professional life…Because Mandarin is so difficult, our schoolchildren won’t be learning it in huge numbers. But nor will other children across the world. However powerful China gets, Mandarin will never topple English as the international language. The Chinese will learn English in their millions; not vice versa.”
I thought these were interesting points. First of all, I don’t think employers are exactly dictating language learning – in fact I wish we had more influence! Of course language learning shouldn’t just be for business use, but the fact remains that languages are in great demand in the workplace and this will be where the majority of language skills get put to use. And if these measures result in more children gaining skills which will later on help them in employment, surely that is a positive?
His second point is valid – there is no doubt that Mandarin is a difficult language and English probably will remain the lingua franca. But if British children could learn even just the basics it would give the next generation a lot more knowledge than we currently have when it comes to Mandarin. It would enable them to communicate with the Chinese business world, even if on a very limited basis, give them a cultural understanding and encourage some to pursue this learning even further. If we took this attitude to all languages we would fall even further behind!
Encouraging the learning of Mandarin is a great idea and I hope it goes ahead – let’s hope the UK confirms its dedication to language learning and does more to get that drop in interest up again.
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.