Brexit negotiations have progressed to the next stage after a dramatic week in Parliament. Theresa May has come to an agreement with the EU to initiate trade talks in the new year – a step towards building what the Prime Minister describes as a ‘new, deep and special partnership with the EU’. What the future holds for UK businesses operating within the EU is still unclear, but with trading relationships at the heart of discussions we can expect further clarity in the coming months.
Wherever the Brexit negotiations go, we are confident that European countries will remain pivotal to UK business endeavours. This blog considers some of the European languages that may become valuable assets to your business in 2018 and beyond.
European languages in high demand in the UK
The recent CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey of UK businesses highlighted a key concern for the UK: only 34% of organisations are satisfied with the foreign language skills of school and college leavers. Although this is worrying, we believe that businesses can manage their language requirements from within by offering targeted language training that meets the business’s specific needs.
But what are these specific needs – which languages might be central to success in Europe? The CBI/Pearson survey was also a useful source here, as it showed that of the top 10 languages rated as useful to UK business, 5 of these were European (French, German, Spanish, Polish and Dutch). French, German and Spanish were in particular demand, which is unsurprising as these major European economies continue to be significant export markets for UK goods.
Double-up on language-learning value
Brexit does not need to be a stumbling block for your business. In many ways, it has the potential to create an opportunity for your business, because trading relationships across the world will change and evolve as the UK seeks to negotiate a strong global trading position.
The associated global language barriers may seem daunting, but a commitment to European languages can open surprising doors around the world. Spanish, for example, is the primary language for a number of Central and South American countries, and French is also spoken widely across Europe (such as in Belgium and Switzerland), as well as in Canada and parts of Africa.
Learning either of these ‘romance’ languages can also provide you with a helpful gateway towards developing an understanding of the other romance languages (Italian, for example), so you may find that your business can leverage these skills across wider areas of Europe, and the world.
European interests are likely to continue being a major part of your business strategy in the coming years, so investing in European languages now makes smart business sense, whatever your industry. Contact us today to find out more about how we can support your organisation’s language learning needs, helping you to maintain and grow a robust and globally successful business.