School Standards Minister Nick Gibb unveiled a new drive to deliver a nation of confident linguists and ensure businesses have the skilled workers they need.
But good language skills aren’t just important for businesses; they open the door to exciting opportunities and careers. A survey of employers by the CBI and Pearson found that almost two thirds of businesses say foreign language skills are important among their employees, particularly in helping build relations with clients, customers and suppliers.
Today’s announcement – which is backed by the CBI – will see the creation of a national language centre, along with nine leading schools across the country acting as language hubs, to improve the teaching of Spanish, French and German.
School Standards Minister Nick Gibb said:
“It has never been more important for young people to learn a foreign language than now. An outward looking global nation needs a new generation of young people comfortable with the language and culture of our overseas trading partners.”
Matthew Fell, CBI UK Policy Director, said:
“As the UK looks to strengthen its trading relationships with nations across the world, our education system must adapt to support this goal. Studying foreign languages, developing cultural awareness and understanding global business is vital if the UK is to maintain a competitive edge on the international stage.”
The review noted that weaknesses in British graduates’ translation and interpreting skills loses the UK an estimated 3.5% of economic performance and concluded that most pupils should study a modern foreign language until they are 16-years-old.