“vicious circle of monolingualism” encompasses Britain

New UCAS figures released last week have revealed a 5% drop in modern language applications despite the overall number of students applying for university places rising. A leading language services provider has said these worrying figures are a cause for concern and require immediate action at classroom and boardroom level.

All Languages say the UCAS figures heap further misery on the nation’s business hopes and global competitiveness. There have been suggestions that Great Britain is failing its children when it comes to languages, and the UK has been described as creating a vicious circle of monolingualism by the British Academy’s State of the Nation Report.

The report highlights the UK’s growing decline in foreign languages, at a time when globally there has never been a higher demand for language skills.  It finds that language skills are needed by all levels of the workforce, and the supply and demand for modern language skills is likely to increase over the years. With language graduates guaranteed to fall by 5% in three and four years, this skills shortage could not have come at a worse time.

Lorna Nelson, Managing Director of All Languages , says “Right now businesses are crying out for language skills. Ironically this comes at a time when provision for taking up languages as an education choice in the UK is inferior to other countries.  We are suffering from a growing deficit in foreign language skills, and we need companies to change their attitudes when it comes to speaking other languages. It is no longer acceptable to presume all business will be done in English; monolingual Brits will not be able to compete with individuals from other parts of the world who can speak two or more languages with many children in places like Sweden receiving language tuition from primary school age.”

Multilingual graduates from all over the world are descending on the global business market, and when a monolingual Brit is up against a multilingual foreigner, it is obvious who an employer would prefer to hire.  Only 3% of UK graduates are linguists – and a sixth of those are foreign students – meaning employers are struggling to fill vacancies and are forced to look further afield.

Based in London, All Languages has been providing translation and interpretation services for over 30 years. It offers language tuition at all levels and provides corporate training packages for employees. With one-on-one tuition and small group teaching, the All Languages range of evening, beginner and intermediate courses can fit around a busy lifestyle while also making the next step on the career ladder more achievable.

Ms Nelson added, “Our variety of courses in an array of foreign languages suit a nervous beginner, an intermediate learner or competent entrepreneurs who want to learn negotiating skills and business writing.  The fall in modern language course applications really highlights that now is the time to act – employers need to build language capacity now to compensate for the shortfall in multilingual graduates that is now certain to hit in three and four years time. This has clear commercial implications and must be tackled now in order to remain competitive further down the road.”

To find out more about All Languages and the selection of courses on offer, visit www.alllanguages.co.uk