In a rare piece of good news for languages in the UK, a project to encourage more people to study languages at university has been awarded extra funding.

The Routes into Languages project has been allocated an extra £1.2 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), allowing it to continue until July 2012. The project organises sixth-form events and sends student ambassadors into schools with the aim of encouraging pupils to continue with modern languages after the age of 14. Led by the University of Southampton’s Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, the project is run by nine regional consortia universities across England.

Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of Hefce, said: “Languages are vital for the social and economic future of the country and graduates with language skills make a major contribution to the UK economy in an ever-changing global context.

“This additional funding demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting modern foreign languages and I hope that it will enable the Routes initiative to build on the many benefits it has brought for schools, colleges, universities and students.” (Source: Times Higher Education Supplement)