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Try these for building language skills


As next year is the European Year of Languages, its a good a time as any to start looking at how the linguistic skills of your organisation can be improved.

The Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (CILT)is responsible for promoting the event within the UK and has published a list of suggestions for companies who want to place a greater importance on language competence but are unsure where to start. Key points to consider are:

Employment policy: Giving language competence a higher priority when recruiting, including a specific mention in advertisements and on application forms, testing or questioning about linguistic ability at interview stage

Salary scales: Recognising and rewarding language skills through salary, allowances or bonuses

Awareness of linguistic resources within the company: Auditing and recording staff language skills on a database, so that a foreign speaker can be located at any time should the need arise

Use the skills you’ve got: Making full use of staff capabilities - it should result in better self esteem and motivation

Identify new needs: Establish which language skills will be needed in the future, particularly for 'front line' staff

Provide training: Give staff the chance to refresh skills they may have developed years ago, and to practice and improve on them, as well as learning new languages

Multilingual information: If you don't already, consider producing promotional literature and information on websites in different languages - it can only enhance opportunities to attract foreign customers

CILT are keen to hear from anyone deciding to put any of these suggestions into action so that they can promote it as part of the European Year of Languages. If you would like further information you can e-mail CILT at mailto:[email protected] or contact them at EYL, CILT, 20 Bedfordbury, London WC2N 4LB, 020 7379 5101 ext. 229

This month's Business Language newsletter published by the Languages NTO describes a number of projects currently being undertaken to improve language skills in the workplace. These include the North West Regional Language Centre (RLC) based at the University of Salford and the Leeds Language Project, a partnership between the City Council, Leeds TEC, universities, FE colleges and Chamber of Commerce to encourage companies to integrate language skills into customer service policies.

If funding language initiatives is likely to be a problem, a good first point of call is the Leonardo da Vinci programme, which funds vocational training across Europe. Proposals to attract some of this funding need to be made by 19 January 2001, and more information can be found on the Leonardo da Vinci programme website.


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