LLAS News Blog

News articles of interest to higher education LLAS subject fields.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Languages for employability video (Leeds Met University)

Graham Webb and colleagues from Leeds Metropolitan University have produced a short video about languages for employability. It was filmed at their recent Language and employability conference which was attended by employers, students and academics.

Leeds Met Languages and Employability Conference Press Release

The coalition government’s education policy changes mean demand for language teachers is set to soar over the next few years. After a decade in which language teaching in schools has declined dramatically (total GCSE entries in modern languages this year were down this year by 43% compared to 2000) the inclusion of a modern foreign language as one of the 5 core subjects of the English Baccalaureate and which count towards school league tables means the focus is back on language study. The School of Languages at Leeds Metropolitan University is already seeing an increase in applications to study languages and more interest teaching languages as a career.

Rai Shacklock, Head of School, said “Over the next 5 to 10 years, qualified teachers that can teach two languages or a language and another key subject will be in high demand, so now is an ideal time to be taking a language degree.” However, teaching is only one of a whole range of careers open to language students as pupils from local Leeds schools heard recently at the Languages and Employability Conference at Leeds Met

Debbie Easton from Enterprise Rent a Car said “We recruit 750 graduates every year and we like language graduates as they can demonstrate good communication skills as well as resilience, confidence and leadership as most have had a year abroad when they had to fend for themselves”.

Fiona Spence, representing the global group ITW, said that they now actively targeted graduate entrants that had not one but two languages because their business needs people who can move between their main operations worldwide. English may be the major global language but people everywhere prefer to do business in their own language, especially if they are considering buying British products.

According to Victoria Boldison, Export Sales Manager of Optimum Medical Solutions, “languages are vital for UK companies as you can target markets that are not in recession even if the UK and Eurozone are”. So, the revival of languages in schools may be just in time to help revive the UK’s economy over the next few years.

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