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Archive for June, 2009

It’s a widely held belief that Britons aren’t the best at learning languages. But it seems that the Irish share our lack of linguistic ability. The Irish Independent reports that according to the latest Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, over 23% of employers complain that Irish graduates lack fluency in a foreign language. The article also says that Chinese and Japanese are growing in popularity in Irish schools, with these nations becoming increasingly significant in the business world.

Professor Fan Hong of the Institute of Chinese studies at UCC is working to try and get Chinese taught in more Irish schools. He says: “Mandarin will become an important language for Ireland in the 21st century. People have to realise that if you want to find a job, you have to be able to communicate in other languages. It may not be necessary to learn the language so that you speak it fluently. But some basic knowledge will certainly help people. Mandarin is now a major language of business.”

Both in Ireland and in the UK there does not seem to be enough emphasis on the importance of language learning due to English being the lingua franca. Teaching languages like Chinese would be a great move forward as at Euro London we see a constant demand for candidates with Asian languages. More work like this needs to be done to get children learning languages at an earlier age and to encourage them to continue with their language studies.

If you’re a company interested in promoting language learning then visit CILT – Euro London have been involved with the Business Language Champions project for 2 years now and it’s a fantastic way to show young people just what opportunities languages can bring.

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Many of us in the UK can only manage a few words of Spanish, the most common ones being ‘hola’, ‘adios’ and ‘una cerveza’, I would imagine. So to celebrate and promote the Spanish language, the Cervantes Institute has launched the first international Spanish Language Day, or ‘el día del español’ which took place on Saturday 20th June.

With events planned in 43 countries, including concerts, films and storytellings, the Institute plans to hold the Spanish Day every year. It was officially launched this year at the Institute’s headquarters in Madrid where a cannon fired out thousands of pieces of paper with Spanish words written on them.

This seems like a great way to promote language learning around the world and something that schools and businesses could really get involved with. We’ll get thinking about ideas for 2010.

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Germans go for gold

The credit crunch has had many effects on Germany, its economy and its employment, but the latest development is a rather unexpected one. With the recession causing a loss of confidence in many investments, there has been an increased interest in gold. The result? Gold vending machines. Yes, according to the FT, a Stuttgart based company wants to install ‘Gold to go’ machines in airports and railway stations across the nation and other German speaking countries. Thomas Geissler, owner of the TG-Gold-Super-Markt company says “German investors have always preferred to hold a lot of personal wealth in gold, for historical reasons. They have twice lost everything. Gold is a good thing to have in your pocket in uncertain times.” So, if you’re planning a trip to Deutschland soon, you may be able to pick up something a bit more exciting than a chocolate bar when you land. Just be warned that it’ll cost you a bit more – a 1g wafer of gold can be purchased for €30 or you can splash out on a 10g bar for €245.

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Crisis Run

It’s June again, which means sunshine, Father’s Day – and the Crisis run. After taking part for several years now, 2009 was going to be no exception, and on 4th June fifteen members of Euro London’s City and West End teams grabbed their trainers and headed to Paternoster Square. The three and a half mile run around the City takes place every year to raise money for the homeless charity and it was a great evening. Our fastest runner completed the run in just over 41 minutes and it was a fantastic way for us to give something back, which is all the more important in these difficult times. We set a fundraising benchmark of £50 per person but actually managed to raise over £1292 which will hopefully make a real difference to the charity and its work. Well done team!

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Graduate advice

Steve Shacklock gives graduates advice on what to do if they’ve had a period of unemployment:

http://www.nxtbook.com/gp/gp/grad91/#/6

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Screen test

Ever wondered about how you can demonstrate your language ability to potential employers – or how to test language ability before agreeing to interview someone. A new service from language jobs board multilingualvacancies.com may have the answer. They have developed video CVs, a system for candidates to demonstrate first hand their multi-lingual abilities to camera. The application is simple to use with candidates being prompted by a link at the end of the process after uploading their details. They then have as many opportunities as they like to record themselves and exhibit those all important skills online. It presents the ideal opportunity to differentiate themselves from other candidates and demonstrate their unique capabilities directly to an employer.

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The UK is not known for its great linguistic ability, with the majority of the population’s foreign language skills limited to “bonjour” or “una cerveza por favor”. But a school in England is facing the opposite problem – its pupils speak 26 different languages! The staff have been teaching the young children English and learning the basics of the other languages spoken, which range from Spanish to Mandarin. However they have also been using Makato, a form of sign language, so that they can communicate with all of the pupils at once. At Euro London, we’re trying to encourage more pupils to study languages – and show then the range of careers available to them when using a language – by being part of the Business Language Champions Scheme. We are also partenring with CILT as sponsors of the Buisness Language Prize in the European Awards for Languages

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