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Archive for October, 2011

There is an old saying that states “don’t talk politics or religion”, this is as it seems to evoke a sense of passion in a person that is rarely seen elsewhere. Never the less, this saying is usually reserved for business and pleasure rather than society as a whole; however this week the British government decided it would not give the option to discuss the politics surrounding the EU debate to their citizens.

In the UK, no one under the age of 56 has ever had the option to say what they think about the EU in a vote, that means 53% of the UK population of voting age, 18+, has never had a say; that’s almost ¾ of the UK population if you count all under 56 year olds, including under 18’s.

Here at Euro London we have a multitude of different views from all of our staff who themselves come from around Europe; we’re a multilingual recruitment agency after all! So we find ourselves with a very encompassing approach to political views from across the spectrum and around the EU, but we wanted to gauge your views from right around Europe. Do you believe the European Union gives us as nations greater security, opportunity and prospects or has it evolved to far to infringe on national identities and actually a drain on our economies?

For those of you who may not know how the EU came about, here’s a little blast from the past. The EU started life as the EEC, European Economic Community, a free trade agreement between the 6 countries of: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and West Germany in 1957 and has gradually expanded over 50 years to now include 27 member states, many of whom are integrated through departments, law systems and the Euro, which sees 17 nations in Europe linked through a singular currency.

However, in a recent European poll across member states, it was found that only 28% of the UK population thought that EU membership in its current capacity was a “good thing” compared to 66% and 69% in Germany and France respectively.

So should a countries government block its citizen’s right for a discussion on a topic? What are your views on the EU?

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Across Europe the jobs market is as competitive as it has ever been and it can be hard to get yourself noticed. So here at Euro London we’ve taken the time to combine our 21 years of knowledge to produce what we believe are the three most critical factors when writing a CV.

We’ve heard all the gimmicks, from the cringe-worthy to the inventive to make a CV stand out. These include sending a brick in with a CV to “make an impact”, or applicants including a photo of themselves so the interviewer “doesn’t forget their face”, (which is slightly disconcerting if you read it in the voice of a movie super villain). So our first tip piggy backs off this…

Number one and perhaps the most obvious and often spoke about, Simple Sells; Now we’re not talking about writing your CV on a post it note, but keep your CV clean and clear and under control! Use a professional, modern font with business size lettering between 10 and 12, use segments to outline your education, work background and of course how to contact you… and please stay away from word art, however pretty that it may be.

Number two; don’t let time pass you by: In a recent survey of employers, the first priority they checked was work history and recent employment. So if you have been out of work for a prolonged period of time, think about volunteering or temping through an agency to gain some valuable experience. This will keep your work history up to date and although it may not be something you would have seen yourself doing in the short term, in the long term it may give you that competitive edge over another candidate and get you that job you love.

Number three; sell yourself: It can be human nature to be reserved when talking about your achievements, preferring to state as part of a team we did such and such. But the company won’t be looking to hire you and your old team; they’ll be looking to hire you! So in your CV say what YOU did at your previous employer and state how YOU made the measurable difference. Quantify and qualify your achievements and don’t just simply state your duties, everyone has duties, but it’s the effects of these duties that will win the day.

In this competitive job market, it will be important for you not only to stand out, but also to fit in with your prospective employer’s expectations. On average a prospective employer takes 60 seconds to read a CV, so make it count!

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A Brighter Horizon

With the latest party political conference season over and the Conservative’s speeches out of the way, one of the main keynote speeches to stand out was from Michael Gove, Minister for Education. His speech [1] outlined what he said has been a decline in education standards throughout the UK, and made the announcement that every child attending primary school was to learn a modern language, however, the debate still continues on whether learning a language at a young age is advantageous or damaging to a child’s cognitive and social skill set. Michael Gove’s announcement came the day before the University of Cambridge published their findings that learning a language enhances a child’s education rather than hinder it as previously believed by some people.

Historically, bilingualism was thought to detrimental to a child’s ability to communicate effectively and that teaching two languages at the same time would lead to “language confusion”, therefore the native tongue of the country where the child was raised would not develop as quickly as the child’s peers and this would therefore be harmful not only to their cognitive abilities, but also affect the way they act socially. However the recent study released on Tuesday from Cambridge University [2], claims that this is not the case and that far from having a negative impact, teaching a child a second language is actually a great advantage to a child’s development. The findings showed that children who speak more than one language are more advantaged over their monolingual playmates, with Dr Alexopoulou stating, “Studies show that a bilingual child is better able to cope with tasks that involve attention, memory and concentration.” Preliminary research [3] also shows that long term effects may shield the brain from the ageing process including age-related memory loss, which will always come in handy.

So has the take up of learning a modern language hit the trough of its decline and is it about to have resurgence?

Were you taught a second language from a young age? We’d like to know your thoughts.

[1] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-15135560

[2] http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/bilingualism-is-good-for-learning/

[3] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/north_west/8452843.stm

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Lost In Translation

Last week saw Carlos Tevez’s career cast into doubt at Manchester City, as it seems that the communication between several parties at the club has broken down, through what is claimed as mistranslation between languages.

If you want a prime example of a multinational company, you need  look no further than a premier league club. Take Manchester City for example;  the club is owned by a Sheikh from the United Arab Emirates, managed by Roberto Mancini from Italy and the team is composed of players from all four corners of the globe; not to mention the number of backroom staff, stewards and stadium officials involved. This is a truly multi-national workforce and like any business for it to function it requires good communication, which can be even harder when there are a multitude of languages involved.

So when Carlos Tevez didn’t play for Manchester City against Bayern Munich, it was originally believed he had refused to play and in the news conference after the game Tevez reportedly said “I did not feel right, so I did not play”. This saw an array of sporting stars and pundits rush into the breach to attack Tevez with Mancini himself stating that “he will never play again at the club.”

However, Tevez’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, is now claiming that he was mistranslated when being asked why he refused to play, stating, “I listened to the questions in English and the interpretations in Spanish. Both questions were interpreted incorrectly and both answers of Carlos were then misinterpreted”.

Just goes to show that good interpreting can make or break a business relationship.

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Last week saw the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Languages “celebrated” throughout the European Union. If you didn’t realise, don’t worry you probably weren’t the only one.

The day which is officially organised by the Council of Europe and has a budget of 30 million euros was launched in 2001 to alert the public to the importance of learning a language, as well as promoting Europe’s rich and diverse linguistic heritage.

But in an era where every day seems to celebrate and promote an idea or cause, we ask the question, is the European Day of Languages even worth the paper it’s written on?

This year being the 10th anniversary we think it could have been the perfect opportunity to promote the importance of learning a language and the benefits it can bring to an individual. Unfortunately the well financed day passed by with a general lack of acknowledgement from the media and with few people knowing about it, the day faded into near obscurity. In the United Kingdom there were a small number of libraries that ran events and a few primary schools that held assemblies, but with a lack of a central organisation within the UK, it seems to have been but a drop in the ocean.

Elsewhere in Europe there was a greater attempt to celebrate the day, in Belgium there were poetry readings on the Metro and in Poland a gala dinner was organised to highlight the advantages of knowing a second language.

Here at Euro London we’d like to see the importance of learning a language championed every day by the European Union and not just one day a year, however well meaning it may be.

We’ll leave you to make your minds up on whether the day was worth the 30 million euros that were spent on it.

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