Language CentreIt’s not just children or pupils in higher education who have the importance of learning foreign languages emphasized upon them. Many career opportunities are available now to those who speak more than one language and even those who have held good positions within their workplace for a long time are now under pressure to learn a new language.

Intensive Lessons for Diplomats

Diplomats are now undergoing intensive language lessons in the Foreign Office’s new language centre. Originally closed by the Labour government in 2007 to save costs by outsourcing to language trainers, the new centre – which teaches up to 80 languages – was re-opened by Foreign Secretary William Hague last month. The aim of the Foreign Office is to increase the number of diplomats in positions abroad who can conduct their business in the language of that particular country. The main focus is on Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish, French, Russian and German, with the intention of strengthening diplomatic ties with Latin America, China and the Middle East.

The Language Centre

The new centre will enable diplomats, as well as staff from other government offices, to study languages in intensive one-to-one sessions. Regardless of any previous knowledge of foreign languages, the teaching techniques used and modern facilities available in the comfortable surroundings make it possible for anyone to study any language to a very high standard. Some languages, such as Mandarin, entail learning the language for 22 months with 4 hours of study each day, before the diplomats are ready to take on their ‘operational’ role overseas in which they are expected to be able to hold press conferences in that language. As diplomats are taking on the challenge, 50 new speaking jobs have been created in UK embassies and high commissions, increasing diplomatic relations with other countries.

Have you needed to learn a foreign language for your career or would you consider learning a new language to take your career in a new direction?