From education to employment

Pupils encouraged to develop language skills through Business Language Champions programme

Education and Skills Secretary Alan Johnson has praised business leaders and educationalists in Yorkshire & The Humber, congratulating them on their campaign to boost language skills for pupils.

The Business Language Champions programme (BLC), run by CILT, the National Centre for Languages, brings together schools and businesses to boost language skills ““ identified as an area of crucial importance to Britain’s future economic well-being.

It aims to highlight the growing concern for the availability and level of language skills in the UK and to inspire companies to actively engage in partnerships with a focus on language learning.

Speaking at the annual celebration of the Yorkshire & The Humber Business Language Champions project, Mr Johnson said, “It is crucial that we encourage young people to study languages as this will provide skills that are vitally needed in today’s global economy. That is why we are taking action to ensure pupils start learning foreign languages at a younger age.

“The Business Languages Champions project is key to developing a strong link between education and business and helping pupils understand the practical benefits learning languages can have for their careers.”

34 businesses in the region representing all sectors of the economy have taken up the challenge to encourage more pupils to carry on with languages and help them understand how languages are used in real life business situations.

Dr Sandra Potestà, Regional Network Manager Yorkshire & The Humber said, “The staggering take up of this scheme by business and schools in our region reflects our appetite for success.

“Combining language learning with business experience creates a heady mix for young people who deserve every opportunity we can give them”.

The BLC, now in its fourth year, is currently in a national development phase following the successful establishment in 2006 of project partnerships in five English regions.

Isabella Moore, Director of CILT, the National Centre for Languages said: “The BLC model involves CILT’s Regional Language Networks working in collaboration with Business in the Community and regional Education Business Partnerships, enabling students to see languages as a practical skill for the workplace; teachers to understand businesses” language needs; and businesses to gain an insight into the education system and how learning languages benefits their future employee”.

Keisha Nelson

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