Inspiring Scotland’s future global workforce in Inverness
Issued by SCILT
Young people from eleven schools across Highland had the opportunity to engage with local businesses at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness on 11 December 2018. Over 120 learners from S3-S6 heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company. The Business Brunch demonstrated the relevance of languages in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.
Schools represented were Charleston Academy, Dingwall Academy, Forres Academy, Fortrose Academy, Inverness High, Inverness Royal Academy, Kilchuimen Academy, Kingussie High, Kinlochbervie High, Millburn Academy, Nairn Academy and Ullapool High.
A teacher attending the event said: “It is good for pupils to take a step back from school and lessons to think about the bigger picture. Today, they discovered the importance of learning one or several languages, and that languages can give you an advantage and make you more employable.”
One of the young people added to this, and commented: “I learned today about the wide range of different jobs where having a language is an advantage.”
Eilidh Mackenzie from Fèisean nan Gàidheal and one of the speakers said: “Thank you so much for including Fèisean nan Gàidheal in the event. We appreciate the opportunity to remind students and their teachers that Gaelic is a modern European language with a wide-ranging smörgåsbord of career & social opportunities.”
The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with DYW Inverness and Central Highland and the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland (UCMLS).
Companies attending included Inverness Chamber of Commerce, BBC Alba, Fèisean nan Gàidheal, pentahotel Inverness, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Visit Loch Ness and Cobbs Group. Founders4Schools, Historic Environment Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, The Open University in Scotland and The Royal Navy supported the event by hosting a stall in the Marketplace.
Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important than ever that we equip our young people with the skills they will need for life beyond school. We want them to be outward-looking and able to operate in an interdependent world. Events such as these highlight the importance of language skills and intercultural competencies in the world of work.
“The business leaders who speak at these events give of their own time because they understand how much these skills are needed and valued by employers and how vital they are for Scotland’s business community. This kind of collaboration is an example of how education and business sectors can work together for their mutual benefit so that we can support young people and help them develop the portfolio of skills that employers require in their workforce.”
Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy, “Developing the young workforce”. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world. The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap. Through hearing from a range of business leaders and interacting with employees, the aspirations of the young people who attended were raised.
This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.
The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in December 2018 and January 2019.
For more information on SCILT’s 2019 Business Brunches go to https://www.scilt.org.uk/Business/BusinessBrunches/tabid/6095/Default.aspx.