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For those living in London, writes Jethro Marsh for FE News, it is an obvious fact that there exist in the city a wide range of communities and linguistic groupings.

As such, the importance of languages skills for Londoners cannot be over "“ emphasised. Better communication and language skills would allow for better communication and integration between different communities and thus improve the degree of what Government releases call "social inclusion". The fact that London will be hosting the Olympic Games of 2012, with the expected influx of visitors from all over the world, only serves to make the requirement for better language skills even more urgent. Now it is no longer the case that this requirement exists only in documents and surveys; there is a concrete date in the diary by which time London will either be ready to host the most successful Olympic Games of all time, or it will not be.

RLN Report

To raise the profile of this more invisible skills gap, the Regional Language Network London (RLN) have announced the release of their report Talking world class: The impact of language skills on the London Economy. This report serves not only to explain the need for language skills in the capital, but also looks at the path ahead. It seeks to identify the support that will be required for London to realise its future economic potential and to meet the challenge of hosting the Olympics.

This report is the first of the regional supplements to the National Centre for Languages" (CILT's) earlier report, called Talking world class: The impact of language skills on the UK economy. The RLN report looks at the data gathered from a number of different sources and aims to demonstrate the economic need for languages in London. It is hoped that this information will be used by policy makers and professionals in the fields of workforce development, education, business, public and voluntary sector organisations.

Huge Growth for Linguistic Diversity

Jane Collis, the manager of RLN London, spoke of the need for the report and the results therein to be assessed accurately. She explained: "Although there is huge growth in non-English speaking markets, linguistic diversity in our capital can be an even greater asset for competitiveness and employment prospects if we invest in language skills."

The Regional Director at the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), David Hughes, who funded the report, commented: "The LSC London Region is pleased to have commissioned this study, which will help to inform our stakeholders about the economic case for language skills in the capital. We need to harness and use the language, cultural and professional expertise of Londoners for continued economic development and success."

Jethro Marsh

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