Language Skills Are Good for Your Business and Your Lifestyle

Article excerpt

International communication skills are good for you: recent research suggests being able to speak a second language is worth pounds 145,000 to an individual ( and it can even make you lucky in love! Confirmation that a language skill is good news for individuals comes as businesses in the North-East recognise that good international communication skills are the key to export success ( and increasingly are doing something about it.

The finding that companies nationwide were ready a pay an average annual premium to staff with language skills of pounds 3,000 (amounting to pounds 145,000 over a lifetime) comes from research by Philip Beresford, creator of The Sunday Times Rich List. He also found the national trends mirrored in the North-East, with managers "much more likely" to hire someone with language skills ahead of monolingual candidates and to pay them more.

Dating agencies also reported that foreign language speakers were seen as more attractive and intelligent by prospective partners.

All of which sits very comfortably with feedback from business to the Regional Language Network North East, according to ZAlie GuArin, its manager.

The Network has seen steady growth in its influence across the region since it was established by One NorthEast and CILT, the National Centre for Languages, almost three years ago. That was in the wake of an audit that showed one in four North-East businesses were losing sales abroad because of poor international communication skills.

"We have now reached a critical mass in terms not only of the number of businesses with which we are actively engaged, but also in the extent to which our core message is endorsed by influential bodies and `movers and shakers' in the region."

Key statistics demonstrate the extent to which the "international communications skills are good for your bottom line" message is getting across:

* More than 500 North-East businesses participating in the Network;

* Some 400 face-to-face meetings with companies interested in developing better international communication skills;

* More than 400 delegates and high profile speakers attending business events in all four sub-regions (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham, and Tees Valley);

* 100 small and medium-size businesses expressing interest in taking advantage of European Regional Development Funding (secured earlier this year by the Network in partnership with Regional International Trade Services) to assist with language and cultural awareness coaching, as well as translation and website localisation;

* More than 30 businesses already receiving grant assistance since April.

In addition, the Network has helped the drive for common approved standards among language professionals in the region through the BLIS Professionals online database and has doubled the number of registered providers in the region to more than 50.

More than 100 candidates with language skills are registered at any one time on the associated BLIS Jobs site, with employers in the region regularly posting vacancies on the site. …

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