As the Leaving Certificate Language Orals loom and weigh heavily on the minds of students it is a good idea to highlight the benefits of having a second language. Right now you might be mixing up your leabhar with your livre and your head may be spinning in a confusion of irregular verbs that forces you to question the purpose of it all – after all, nearly everyone in the world speaks English, right?
Speaking English does give you an advantage in life. It is the third most spoken language in the world and is synonymous with opportunity and a better quality of life. Recognised to be the lingua franca of business, travel and international relations coupled with the pervasive power of US culture means that English will continue to dominate the world stage. But by dropping the conceit attached to the English language and showing some humility for foreign languages you may be able to take advantage of career opportunities for fluent foreign language speakers.
Here are 6 reasons to learn a foreign language:
Increases Chance of Being Hired
Having proficiency, or even better fluency, in a foreign language can be a passport for job opportunities and advancements in your career. Your additional language/s may be the one skill that separates you from other interview applicants and makes you the most attractive for the job. Many companies are expanding and doing business globally and therefore need employees who can communicate with foreign clients. A survey conducted in 2011 showed that 70 per cent of Irish people cannot speak a foreign language. If you have an aptitude for languages, it might be worth investing in it to get ahead of 70 per cent of the population!
Increase Chance of Career Advancement and Promotion
The advantages of being multilingual do not stop once you have been hired. Your additional language may be the ticket to in-house promotion or advancement in your career to other companies. Larger companies need managers who can travel abroad to close deals and oversee operations. Smaller companies need multilingual employees who can help explore new business opportunities in foreign countries and establish new operations abroad. Although many companies use translators to assist them, having employees who are fluent in another language helps to build relationships. Speaking to clients in their native tongue breaks down barriers, makes the client feel more comfortable and builds trust, therefore benefiting business relationships in the long run.
This is a simple issue of supply and demand. As mentioned earlier approx. 70 per cent of Irish people do not have a foreign language. Multilingual employees are harder to come by so they attract a higher salary.
Travel and Global Opportunities
Having a foreign language allows you greater opportunity for travel with your work. You can immerse yourself in a whole new culture and broaden your horizons both in your work and your private life. As international companies broaden their reach across continents they require multilingual employees. Being a global employee can be exciting, fulfilling and a very lucrative career.
Languages are Food for the Soul
Through studying a foreign language and immersing yourself in a different culture you develop a greater understanding of people. You may place greater value on the importance of diversity in the workplace and life in general. Seeing life from a different world perspective benefits you in your own personal life and in your career. This makes you a more rounded individual and this spills into your work life and work relationships.
Languages are Good for the Mind
Learning a new language is a great workout for your brain but it also has many more benefits. Different studies have shown that learning a second language results in a better memory, better ability to multitask, improved decision-making capabilities, and it significantly delays the onset of many brain related diseases such as Alzheimer and dementia.
Are you convinced?. . .
If so here’s some information on where you can study a language.
Where can I study a language?
There are many opportunities to study languages in Ireland. From taking an evening course in your local Education Training Board centre to starting a degree. If you are currently studying a language for your Leaving Cert, you may consider CAO or PLC courses to improve your language skills. You can search the courses database on CareersPortal to find courses at levels 5,6,7 and 8.
Click here for PLC language courses. There are many European Studies courses and Pre-University Arts courses that include language studies.
If you are applying to CAO, Arts courses provide many options for students to continue with their language or take up a new one ab initio. Languages available include: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Greek. Studying a language with law or business is also a popular choice. To search the CAO Course Finder database click here.
Labour Market Information
Foreign language skills and cultural awareness are two key areas highlighted by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). Foreign language skills continue to be in demand, in particular, "contextual language learning for specific purposes (i.e for managers, engineers, international marketing and sales)". Languages, particularly in demand, include German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and the Nordic languages. There is also a growing need for Mandarin as trade links grow with China.
Languages enhance careers across all spectrums but there are some careers that need a language. To explore careers that require a language click here.
Infographic sourced from www.statista.com
The CareersPortal Team