There's no working environment or career that won’t benefit from individuals knowing more than one language. The reason is obvious: we need language in order to operate effectively in the world – and in practice that means one or more specific languages. So the wider the range of languages we can draw on, the more doors open up.
It’s not just about practical communication. Even basic transactional skills can help to create trust, and even a smattering can convey respect for the culture of the other person. More extensive proficiency in learning and studying languages brings valuable ‘transferable skills’. The Born Global report published in March 2016 by the British Academy showed on the basis of substantial research that employers value the ‘analytical, inter-cultural communication skills and global mindset’ developed by the study of languages, alongside qualities such as ‘rigorous thinking, problem-solving and resilience’.
Correspondingly, people who have studied Modern Languages go on to the most fascinating range of careers, in which they may regularly use the languages they’re proficient in, or simply draw on the transferable skills they’ve learnt in the course of their studies. And learning one language trains skills that can be transferred to another. So a language learned at school may lay the groundwork for learning a different one in response to a job opportunity abroad.
This section will be giving some glimpses of ways in which languages and the world of work interconnect – in personal career trajectories, individual career aspirations, and perspectives from employers.