Remember Year 8 French? Maybe you did Spanish, or German. Some UK schools even teach Russian to their first-year students.
If you’re anything like us, you probably spent your early language lessons either bewildered by the endless grammar rules and verb tables (why is there a masculine and a feminine choice to make between furniture?) or you were really into it. Like… really into it.
Making a choice
Either way, we all got to Year 9 and had to decide whether we wanted to continue on with a language for GCSE. In some schools, a language is compulsory – it’s the subject choice that differs. In others, languages as GCSE aren’t mandatory.
Back then, getting out of a language class meant pretty much the same as getting out of anything else – more free time to do what you actually wanted to do.
Now, we aren’t blaming you for being a typical 14 year old, because at the end of the day, such behaviour is inevitable and shouldn’t be quashed. However, maybe you’ve started applying for jobs and realised a fateful error in your educational choices – all the jobs with “language skills” emphasised pay way better.
How does speaking two languages improve my career prospects?
This is by no means the case across the board, but it’s certainly a trend in higher level sales jobs, international marketing roles, and positions in HR.
As you’ve grown up, you may have started to realise that bilingual people actually have a huge advantage when it comes to candidacy for jobs requiring interpersonal skills.
According to Baroness Coussins, chair of the all-parliamentary group on modern languages,
“The UK economy is already losing around £50bn a year in lost contracts because of lack of language skills in the workforce.”
She’s not just talking about high flyers, either – “In 2011 over 27% of admin and clerical jobs went unfilled because of the languages deficit.”
So, why is it so important to learn a language?
Put simply, in-house language skills win clients. If you’re operating in a company that relies on conversions, being able to extend your potential client base to a whole other language is a huge advantage.
WIth a language, you’ll be able to offer more to your employer, which tends to work out better for job security in the long run. Plus, you’ll be able to go into language-specific roles like translating or customer service.
Learning a language also means you’re more up to date with your industry. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of assuming our industry ends outside our locality, city, or country.
To be an international player, you need to know what’s going on abroad, as well as understand the context behind global business decisions.
It’s never too late to learn
Although it may seem daunting, it’s never too late to start learning a new language. Maybe you’ll rekindle your love of Year 8 German with a few textbooks, YouTube tutorials, or a private tutor.
Some people find that attending a dedicated class helps them focus and keep motivated when learning a language. Many adult learning services offer evening classes dedicated solely to learning a new language, improving existing skills, or refreshing your memory.
If you can’t manage to get to a physical lesson there are hundreds of great courses online that you can sign up for, many of which award you a certification upon successful completion of the material.
Find your dream course with Enrol Education
Use Enrol’s unique search tool to find your dream language course. We tailor results by subject choice, level, and location so you only have to compare the results that are most relevant to you.