This was the pertinent questions when I delivered a talk on languages and careers at St. Bartholomew’s School in Newbury in my capacity as the founder of The VICI Language Academy.
Naturally I was already talking to young people who were either gifted at languages or simply liked them and they were wondering if it was worth carrying on studying languages. Will it be beneficial for them later in life beyond pleasure, travelling and personal development (in themselves excellent reasons!)?
Trust me, I loved languages at school and didn’t take them at Uni’ because I felt it wouldn’t really help me in a career. In my day, ‘doing languages’ was all about becoming a teacher, a translator or interpreter. Of course, ironically, I now run a language academy training people to speak a language fluently and we help companies recruit language graduates.
So yes, learning a foreign language will help you directly if you want to teach, translate or interpret as a career, however, it is the difference a language can make more subtly that is truly remarkable.
More generally having a second or third language is a good indicator of intelligence and the best indicator of a candidate who has a high capacity to learn. Therefore you may, as a language graduate, be looked upon favourably even if you are not applying those language skills.
In the blog ‘Help your child choose the right direction’ we quoted Robert Holland from James Cowper LLP, who are accountants and business advisers. He says:
“The ability to speak additional languages is an important factor in our recruitment process. Whilst it is not necessarily a primary requirement, where we have two broadly equivalent candidates but one has an ability to speak foreign languages then that will probably be the deciding factor.”
Employers value linguists for the range of other skills they bring, such as communication skills (including listening skills), research and analytical skills and, very importantly, experience of studying or working abroad and the intercultural skills that brings.
In a nutshell, you may not get a job simply because you speak a foreign language… But you could be chosen over other candidate precisely because you have another language. When it comes to improving your job prospects, clearly a second language gives you a first class edge.
If you want to improve your future job prospects call us today on 01635 522410 between 8am and 8pm to find out more or visit us at Arcade House off the Market Place in Newbury.