With only 21 weeks left until Britain leaves the EU, record numbers of people are now wanting to learn European languages, with key Brexit events such as the referendum result boosting demand for tutors.
The online local services marketplace Bidvine.com has seen inquiries for private language classes posted on the platform rise by a third over the past year, presenting an unmatched opportunity for native speakers and foreign language teachers to capitalise on their skills.
While the number of fresh inquiries has grown to 100 per day, the number typically climbs 10% on days when Brexit is trending in the news. The biggest spike in demand occurred on June 24th 2016 – the day after the referendum poll – when tutoring requests more than doubled and rose by an unprecedented 112%.
“It’s clear that the prospect of Brexit has renewed interest in learning foreign languages and especially among adults,” said Sohrab Jahanbani, founder and CEO of Bidvine.com.
“It would appear the demand is driven in part by UK nationals who want to realise their dream of living on the continent but who are in a race against the clock to the March 29th Brexit deadline – along with British spouses and children of EU nationals who are leaving the UK for the EU.”
Britons still want to learn the classic European languages, with Spanish, French and German the most popular choice, with highly sought-out foreign national tutors able to earn £30 / hour for their skills on Bidvine.com.
“Although Brexit is likely to limit freedom of movement of British nationals within the EU, the continent remains our biggest trading partner so the ability to speak European languages will remain a valuable skill,” said Sohrab Jahanbani. “However only a third of us can hold a conversation in a foreign language, a failure that’s costing the country £48bn every year in lost business and investment opportunities.”
“With the UK about to begin forging new trading relationships around the world – while at the same time reducing net immigration – language competence will become an increasingly valued skill. Looking beyond the Brexit date of March 29th, we’re expecting to see a growth in demand for non-European languages reflect this trend.”
Foreign language figures:
- Spanish, Mandarin, French, Arabic and German are the most important languages the UK needs to master – however only a third Britons can hold a conversation in another language
- Deficient language skills costs the UK economy 3.5% of GDP – or £48bn every year – with smaller firms and non-exporters worst affected
- Since 2013 the number of GCSE and A level students studying foreign languages has dropped eight percent
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