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Archive for July, 2010

We’ve blogged before about the National Centre of Languages (CILT) and the various initiatives they run. Last week, our Manchester office attended the Business Language Champions (BLC) event which is a national programme that encourages and helps businesses and schools to work closely together to promote and encourage language learning to young people.

The programme is sponsored by the Department for Education and is a great way to get schools and companies working together for a good cause. We know only too well that there is a big problem surrounding a lack of candidates with language skills and companies increasingly have to look abroad to get the skill set they require. With statistics issued by UK Customs and Excise claiming that 72% of UK international trade is with non-English speaking countries there is clearly a need for organisations to have a multi lingual workforce.   (more…)

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I came across an interesting piece on twitter last week regarding bilingualism and it caught my attention for two reasons – firstly the very nature of my job means I am always on the lookout for stories regarding languages and secondly it reminded me of a post I wrote recently on disappearing languages.

According to researchers in Spain the dominating languages such as English have led to the decline and eventual extinction of less dominating languages like Scottish, Gaelic and Welsh. This, they say, is proven by mathematical models. (more…)

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I was pleased to see an article in EurActiv about the European Commission taking steps to promote language learning in school – a topic we have blogged about before and one that I feel strongly about.

According to the article, the European Commission has teamed up with several other international organisations to call for proper funding to be made available to schools for their language departments. Furthermore, they call for better funding and career prospects for professions like translators and interpreters which are currently facing a shortage and will continue to do so over the next 5 to 10 years. (more…)

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‘The useless modern foreign languages such as French’. That lovely quote was in an article I was reading in the Independent last week.  ‘Ridiculous’ was my first thought (and still is) but let’s put it into context. The quote came from former government minister Chris Bryant when he was (we assume) trying to defend the actions of the previous Labour government’s failures to increase foreign language learning to school children.   Chris Bryant wasn’t saying that languages shouldn’t be taught; on the contrary he was encouraging the teaching of foreign languages but just the ‘useful’ ones which he quoted as ‘Mandarin, Spanish, and Portuguese‘!

We’ve blogged before about the previous government lobbying to get languages such as Mandarin on the school curriculum but what amazed me was that a language like French that is so poplar and widely spoken was branded as useless by Chris! In our job as recruiters we see lots of jobs that specifically require French, which certainly shows it is not useless. More to the point shouldn’t we be encouraging the learning of languages whether it be French, German or Mandarin?

As pointed out in the article ‘according to some estimates it [French] has 265 million native or second language speakers, more than Arabic for instance, and is the most important trading language in large parts of Africa and elsewhere’.  Clearly then in our opinion French is not useless and will continue to be an important language for the foreseeable future regardless of what an ex minister claims!!

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