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Job opportunities highlighted for those with foreign languages skills

Date: 26 September 2012 

On European Day of Languages (Wednesday 26th September), the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), is calling on individuals to focus on boosting their foreign language skills to take advantage of job opportunities.

Commenting, Una Halligan said, "Foreign language skills are crucial to driving Ireland’s trade and export performance in both existing and emerging overseas markets.  There are more and more opportunities for workers who can speak a foreign language.  This can be developed through their continuing professional development.  It is essential that students build on the foreign language proficiency that they have acquired at second level, into their further studies."

"The reports of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs over recent years have highlighted recurring demand for multilingual staff and unless we significantly boost our language skills both in terms of numbers and proficiency the opportunities of the global market will not be realised and Ireland will be at a competitive disadvantage.  Companies are telling us that they have requirements for skills in international sales and in foreign languages.  There is potential for companies to further grow existing markets in the UK, US, and the euro zone and to develop new markets including Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa (BRICS) and the Middle East.  Expanding into new markets requires a ramping up of skills and experience levels, said Halligan"

Successive National Skill Bulletin reports from the EGFSN have strongly featured recurring shortages in supply for multilingual roles.  In the recent EGFSN report, Key Skills for Enterprise to Trade Internationally, it is recommended that an improved supply of foreign language skills would act to enhance our export potential.  This would include boosting the supply of graduates with foreign language skills – including German, French, Spanish and Italian.

There is also scope for increasing the number of students participating on Erasmus study and work placement programmes in Europe, especially those which include foreign language learning. This EU programme will increase its funding in 2014 when a new streamlined Erasmus for All programmes will be launched which will also offer placement opportunities in our main markets outside Europe. Students should seek to take advantage of these exciting opportunities. Student internship opportunities with Irish exporting companies at home and abroad will build up a cadre of Irish international business professionals.

The Expert Group also highlighted that companies who might not currently be exporting or who are mainly exporting to English speaking countries should be aware of the need for building foreign language capability to boost their international trading performance.

European Day of Languages
The first European Day of Languages was held in 2001 as part of European Year of languages when hundreds of events were organised, reaching millions of people in 47 countries. Organised jointly by the EU and the Council of Europe, the European Day of Languages continues that work, to raise public awareness of the languages used in Europe.