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Language skills shortage a real concern, says Nuffield report


Our colleagues in businessZONE have reported that UK workers are in danger of missing out on job opportunities in favour of those who can offer skills in other languages.

The Nuffield Enquiry Report into the UK's language capabilities published on Wednesday states that the UK workforce suffers from a chronic shortage of people with usable language skills, and this puts workers at a disadvantage in the jobs market.

Companies increasingly need personnel with technical or professional skills plus another language, and often their only option is to recruit native speakers of other languages.

Chairmen of the Inquiry, Sir Trevor McDonald of ITN and Sir John Boyd of Churchill College, Cambridge say in their foreward to the report that although English is the language used internationally in many areas of industry and science, The UK needs competence in many languages in order to be able to compete for jobs.

The report also finds that adults are keen to develop their language skills, but that there is no one system in place to deliver the training required. It is also critical of the education system, which it says also suffers from a lack of direction as the government has no coherent approach to language learning.

Among the recommendations of the report are that the government should develop and implement a strategy for developing capability in languages in the UK.

You can obtain a full copy of the report at


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