The United Kingdom is a multicultural country, writes Joana Lage, Language Learning Correspondent for FE News, with an enormous amount of international businesses: more and more companies work on a global level. And, in order to simplify and streamline business operations, one should know ones partner or even fellow – competitor well.
A good start-point is to speak their mother tongue. Languages play a central role in this area and the demand for this type of skills is increasing day by day. As Peter Huntington, Chief Executive of GoSkills asserted: “Employers have already woken up to the need for better language skills and have expressed concern about the decline in the number of young people taking languages.”
A New Strategy
The battle for languages is a long and exhaustive one but everyday new initiatives and solutions are developed to change the situation of the undervaluing of languages in the UK. Recently, it was announced that the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) the National Centre for Languages (or CILT) and GoSkills, the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Passenger Transport were joining forces and creating a new body: The Languages Skills Alliance.
This is a new strategy that seeks to understand the new needs of the employers, and the requirements for languages skills and abilities for their staff and new employees. Also, this association intends to restructure the education and training programmes for adults and young people all over the country. Consequently, languages could start to be an integral part of their skills and qualifications in many sectors of the economy.
Furthermore, language skills may then become integral in the areas of management and leadership. Languages will start to be considered and recognised across all the employment sectors and in decision-making forums on skills and employability, especially trough the Skills for Business Network.
A Small Step for a Big Future
The Language Skills Alliance is one of many revolutionary strategies to promote the acknowledgement that languages are a key skill and are essential, especially in the UK. In a global scenario of international and also individual competitiveness, the more employable and adaptable one’s workforce is, the easier our businesses will find their competitive ethos.
Isabella Moore, Director of CILT, the National Centre for Languages, concluded: “This is a major step forward for developing the UK workforce’s competence in languages. It provides the basis for language skills needs to be properly identified and fulfilled, so both private and public sector employers will reap the benefits of language skills, our young people will be better trained and more confident on the international stage, and the UK will be more competitive in the global economy.”
Joana Lage, International Languages Correspondent
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