The consultation on Lord Dearing’s Languages Review as discussed last month has now come to a close. CILT has shared its view that we need both a measure of compulsion and a clear statement from Government on what proportion of students nationally should be continuing to study a language post-14 – the present 50% benchmark is too low.
We have suggested, as part of a detailed response to the consultation and in relation to the new specialised Diplomas, that a short-term solution may be to include languages as a compulsory element in the Diploma for Travel and Tourism, also those for Health and for Business, and as an additional specialist option in each of the other Diplomas.
If languages are to remain an optional element of post-14 education, highlighting to students the practical benefits of even basic language skills is absolutely critical ““ we owe it to our young people to give them all the information they need to make informed decisions about language learning.
The communication needs in the workplace today, and the competition our young people will face in the jobs market are not the same as even ten years ago and languages can be an important part of work readiness.
The Languages Work campaign, which is particularly aimed at teenagers, highlights the fact that English just isn”t enough in the global jobs market and that even basic language skills can improve your lifestyle as well as career prospects. This month we have produced a new set of materials which show how languages fit into different job sectors. They refer to the employment sectors of the first five specialised Diplomas and highlight the fact that “things can get tricky when you can”t communicate”. We hope to continue to develop resources promoting Languages in relation to the remaining Diploma lines in future years and build on the already substantial bank of inspiring examples of real people using their languages at work.
We need to produce a generation of outward-looking young people who can interact confidently with other cultures and who can apply their language learning skills in their future lives, in whatever language is most relevant to their area of work.
Isabella Moore, Director, CILT, the National Centre for Languages.
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