This is National Languages for Export Campaign Week, a Department of Trade and Industry initiative which aims to improve the UK's "languages in business" record. Surveys have shown that the UK has the fewest companies with executives able to negotiate in a foreign language and that our ill-prepared businessmen may make linguistic and cultural mistakes that could cost crucial trade and export opportunities.
On Wednesday, the DTI announced the winners of its annual Languages for Export award. The awards have an education component divided into two categories. The Associated Examining Board Award, worth up to Pounds 1,000, is open to schools and colleges that have introduced new courses with a foreign language component related to business. And the Arcadian Hotels Award, worth up to Pounds 2,500, is open to universities and adult and further education colleges which combine export-related education and a strong foreign language component.
The AEB award winner is Fitzalan High School, Leckwith, Cardiff. The school serves an area which has been in economic decline for 70 years and has 30 nationalities on roll. The school emphasises the importance of Welsh and Japanese to the local economy, offers French, German, Russian, Spanish, Italian and Japanese and arranges work experience and exchange visits to Italy, France and Norway.
The Arcadian Hotels Award winner is Telford College, Edinburgh, for its Higher National Certificate and Diploma course, Communication in Europe.
More details: West Midlands Export Link, Birmingham Training and Enterprise Council, Chaplin Court, 80 Hurst Street, Birmingham B5 4TG. Tel: 0121 622 4419.