In a global, multi-cultural society, being able to communicate in more than one language is increasingly vital. It is important for the nation’s prosperity that young people are attracted to learning languages and that they become confident in speaking languages other than their own.
According to the CBI's Education and Skills survey 2015, over three quarters of businesses (77%) have a need for language skills among their employees, with over one in ten (11%) stating they would need language skills in the next few years.
The Scottish Government is committed to expanding and improving language learning so that our young people are equipped with the skills and competencies needed for the global economy. That is why we have made an ambitious languages commitment to introduce a norm for language learning based on the EU 1+2 model. This will ensure that all young people in Scotland have excellent language learning opportunities from a young age, as a normal and expected part of a broad, relevant school education.
Job profile - Ken Lindsay, International Brand Ambassador, Chivas Brothers Ltd
Ken Lindsay tells us of his experiences of learning languages and how they have helped him in his role as an International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers Ltd.
This case study is courtesy of Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT). SCILT works to promote and support the delivery of high quality language learning, to ensure that all languages and cultures are valued and that life-long learning is recognised as a key skill for life and work.
My name is Ken Lindsay, and I am the International Brand Ambassador for Chivas Brothers Ltd, the premium scotch whisky and gin company of Pernod Ricard.
In my role as brand ambassador, I am not only representing our scotch whisky brands, but also the culture and heritage of Scotland to more than 75 countries around the world!
As well as English, have you learned, or do you speak, any other languages?
I speak French, Spanish and Portuguese, and I’m learning Italian at night school this year! It is a fantastic boost to your confidence if you can communicate to people in other countries in their own tongue, and it definitely helps form collaborative business relationships much more easily.
Do you get the opportunity to go abroad as part of your job? If so, how do you communicate with people when you are there?
I travel abroad extensively and use my languages whenever possible while travelling. I do a lot of work in South America, France, Spain, Asia and Russia.
Do you think it is important to be able to speak other languages?
I think it’s not only desirable but essential to have at least one other language. The business world is now truly international, and another language is going to be regarded as the minimum requirement for aspiring business professionals in the future.
Which language or languages would you consider to be most useful?
I think any language would be useful. It's important just to have a language. From my experience, Russian, Mandarin and definitely Spanish are right up there in my sphere of work. Three of the fastest-growing economies in the world are Russia, China and Mexico, offering huge opportunities for bright, mobile young people.
Do you have a message to share about the importance and the benefits of language learning?
I believe that learning a language improves confidence, communication skills and professional development. It undoubtedly provides an advantage when job-seeking. Above all, it’s fun and mind-broadening to embrace different cultures and languages.
For more case studies visit the SCILT website.