Foreign Languages in the Work Place  

Nelson Mandela once said “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart”. The world is becoming smaller as business becomes more international, flights become cheaper, and more people decide to emigrate to a new location. The demand in the UK for knowledge in a second language is quickly increasing despite English being the international language of business, but the interest in learning second languages in school is slumping as children are not educated from a young age about the benefits of learning them. In 2014 an educational and skills survey conducted by CBI and Pearson concluded that out of 291 companies surveyed, 41% believed knowledge of a foreign language was beneficial to their business.
The languages most in demand by companies in the UK are mostly European, with Spanish being the most desired (where only a few years before, French was in the top spot). There has been a large rise in demand for speakers of Spanish and Chinese Mandarin as the Chinese and South American markets are increasing in size. There has also been a rise in demand for Arabic with the booming industry sector in the United Arab Emirates, and it is now rated the second most important language for the future of Britain. These have been rated on a number of factors including current UK export trade, the language needs of the UK business, UK government trade priorities and emerging high growth in markets as well as many others.
Because of this slump in interest in studying a new language, employers are often having difficulties trying to fill vacancies dependent on these skills. Fewer than 1 in 26 students in the UK learn a second language beyond a basic level. Furthermore, according to an article published by The British Council, the achievement of pupils in England in the European Survey on Language Competences was poorer that that of the pupils from any other country taking part. The inability for the British to trade in languages other than English is potentially damaging to the UK export markets.
Learning a second language also comes with a lot of hidden benefits in the work place. The more you learn about a second language, the more you discover about your own, and the easier it is for you to communicate clearly and effectively in your mother tongue. You learn about the difficulties that people translating into your language are facing, and how to convey your message in a way that they will also understand clearly.
The language of a country is its cultural foundation from which its heritage is built upon. Every language opens up an insight into a different mindset which can provide alternative solutions to problems by looking at them from a different perspective that you have only gained through learning a different way of expressing yourself.
Learning a second language not only helps to delay brain related diseases such as dementia and alzheimers, it opens up a plethora of opportunities in the work place, not only for importing, exporting and international trade, but also in communication, improved decision making and multitasking abilities, and there is no doubt that the demand for languages in the work place will only to continue to rise.
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