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Language skills are critical

I am writing in response to concerns raised by David Sherlock in "Funding cuts may hit UK trade" (FE Focus, Apri13), about the Government's national languages strategy.

David Sherlock was right to highlight the valuable role that language skills play in both economic and personal development. We at the Learning and Skills Council have always recognised the critical role of languages in improving the employability of individuals, competitiveness of UK companies and widening adult participation.

In 200405 the LSC funded around 60,000 adult enrolments in language courses and continues to plan, with our providers, to secure a range of high-quality language provision, in order to implement the Government's national languages strategy.

Key to this is the design of an appropriate and diverse curriculum offer for all learners.

We have therefore developed a planning framework at local, regional and national level to prioritise the delivery of high-quality language provision across the broad provider framework (including personal community development learning).

We also work with CILT, the National Centre for Languages, and local authorities, employers and providers to drive demand by raising awareness of the importance of language skills.

In our recent work on the Black Country 14-19 Pathfinder, LSC shows the benefits for employers and learners of languages as an integral component of workforce development. We intend to maintain our commitment to this curriculum priority.

Jon Gamble

Director of Adult Learning LSC, Coventry

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