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Archive for December, 2010

It’s great news that the Government is going to fund the placement scheme for undergraduates studying abroad for the next year. But we must make sure that this funding doesn’t just last a year, but is long-term. What is the alternative? The UK could be in danger of developing a real language skill shortage that could compromise its position as an international business leader.

At Euro London we have seen a significant fall in fluency levels among language graduates over the past five years, largely down to a decrease in the number of people taking a year abroad. The UK already has rising University fees and fewer young people studying languages now that they are no longer compulsory. If we remove the year abroad, it would lead to the problem worsening, causing a severe lack of language talent.

With the UK operating in an increasingly global marketplace, employers need people that can communicate effectively with others around the globe. Not only does that require strong language ability, but also good cultural knowledge, and the year abroad is crucial in providing students with both of these skills. However increasing costs and student debt mean that many aren’t willing or financially able to take advantage of the experience. The UK needs to try and preserve the year abroad if it wants to remain competitive.

It’s understandable that students may be scared to put what they have learnt in the classroom into practice, or that they want to avoid the year abroad so they can graduate as quickly as possible. However the best way of securing the top jobs and start paying off those debts is to take full advantage of the year abroad to really boost their employability. Language speakers – you don’t realise how in demand you are!

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Welcome to post number four in our series of profiles of jobs you can do with a language. This week – oil seed trading!

What does the role entail?

As the job title suggests, the role involves trading oil seeds! A financial role, you would assist the head of trading, buying oil seeds from farmers and selling them on to companies to make olive oil. That means negotiating the best trade prices possible with all parties involved. There are also traders for other crops such as cocoa beans.

What languages are needed?

A range – what language is needed depends on what market you’ll be covering. If you need to liaise and negotiate deals with farmers in North Africa then French will be required, other companies will need linguists for the German market, and so on. (more…)

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You may have seen our recent post explaining that we are going to be profiling a range of the different jobs you can do with languages here on our blog. Our first one was on life as a football researcher followed by life as a video games tester. Here is the third one – carry on reading to find out about life as a poker customer services representative. (Remember: these aren’t roles we’re actively recruiting for – just a selection of jobs we have recruited for in the past to give you an idea of the wide range of jobs you can do with a language!)

What does the role entail?

Being a poker customer services representative will see you providing customer support via email to customers; this may be assisting them with depositing funds into their account, navigating them around the site or explaining how to play in tournaments. You will also be involved in updating and translating web content and watching live poker games online to ensure there is no cheating. (more…)

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GCSE shake up

Seven years after the Labour government removed the compulsory requirement for students to study a foreign language at age fourteen, the Government of today looks set to change things. A recent article in the Guardian reports that in a shake-up of the league tables, the number of pupils taking a language should increase.

New plans will see every school rewarded for the amount of students who achieve good grades in English, maths, science, a language and one humanity subject. Currently, some schools are seen to boost their league table scores through offering softer subjects like media. This is great news and should see the number of pupils learning a second language increase to the levels seen prior to 2003. In fact, if schools want to rate high in the league tables it will see languages at GCSE being compulsory. With more pupils studying language GCSE’s we hope this will result in more carrying on studying them at A-Level and university. (more…)

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Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

This year’s series of ‘The Apprentice’ is in full swing, and as the candidates disappear each week, the tasks get that much harder. Last week’s show saw the remaining candidates flown to Hamburg to try their luck at inventing and selling two new flavours of crisps.  So how did they get on in Germany?

Synergy, led by investment banker Chris got off to a shaky start by all claiming they couldn’t speak any other language than English, and Christopher claimed quite simply that he didn’t like the Germans. Apollo, led by Stella were not much better. Whilst none of them too could speak German they did have Stuart on board who was willing to give the language a go.  Not speaking a second language is all too common it appears and this episode served to highlight this. (more…)

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