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Show Students The Business Reasons Why They Should Learn A Language

By Frances L Berry

When students pose the question ‘why learn a language?’ it is often because they don’t realise how having a language will help them in the future. Employers, on the other hand, would willingly answer this by explaining their struggle to find potential employees who, alongside their other skills, can speak and understand another language.

Having language skills within an organisation improves communications with foreign contacts and enables the business to export their goods and services. Even if the business does not currently trade overseas, hiring an employee with language skills will be seen as a good investment for the future. This is where the Business Language Champions programme comes in as it enables business people to pass on their wisdom, skills and knowledge in the hope of persuading young people to study languages and further their own employability.

If we can demonstrate to students that this kind of language employment is achievable, agreeable and available then perhaps they will no longer ask ‘why learn a language’ because the answer will be obvious – to further their prospects and increase their employability.

Business Language Champions and other employer engagement activities encourage students to think about how their language skills could benefit them in the jobs market by showing them the many varieties of language employment. It enables business people to share their experiences and demonstrate to youngsters, through presentations, interactive workshops and site visits, the importance of language skills within the workplace.

When teachers are asked specifically ‘why learn a language’ they can arrange, through Business Language Champions, to engage with a local employer which trades with overseas markets. Business representatives can then visit the school and share with students their own experience of using languages at work, giving examples of what the role demands and the increased opportunities their language skills have given them within that organisation.

Using languages to gain language employment will not appeal to all youngsters, but the realisation that these skills improve job prospects, irrespective of whether a role specifically calls for them, should be an incentive to continue studying languages.

Want to find out more about Business Language Champions, then visit this site and help answer the why learn a language question your students keep asking.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Berry, Frances L. "Show Students The Business Reasons Why They Should Learn A Language." Show Students The Business Reasons Why They Should Learn A Language. 2 Jul. 2010. 23 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Berry, F (2010, July 2). Show Students The Business Reasons Why They Should Learn A Language. Retrieved December 23, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Berry, Frances L. "Show Students The Business Reasons Why They Should Learn A Language"

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