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Home > News > September 2006 > 27 September 2006

Survey finds businesses reluctant to offer language training

According to a new YouGov survey of 2500 UK employees commissioned by language learning course provider Rosetta Stone, 80% of employees have never been offered the opportunity to learn a second language at work.

The company highlighted research from the British Chamber of Commerce which found that 20% of UK businesses have lost business opportunities because of their failure to embrace new language skills.

James Pitman, UK managing director of Rosetta Stone, said: "Our survey clearly shows that UK businesses are stuck in a time warp in terms of language learning and are strangely apathetic about the situation.

"In 2007, the EU is expected to expand again and it is therefore shocking that 80% of businesses still refuse to offer any language training to their staff. It is little wonder they are losing business opportunities.

"Language learning is suffering in secondary education equally, which has been compounded by the government's ending of compulsory language learning. This year's GCSE results showed a 13.2% decrease in the number of pupils taking French and 14.2% taking German from 2005. Yet with cost effective methods like online language learning widely available, there is no excuse for lack of language learning in schools and businesses in the UK.

"As research from the British Chamber of Commerce shows, there is a direct link between UK business success and language skills so from an economic perspective, failure to embrace languages is a risk that is simply not worth taking."

The survey also found that 7% of respondents believed language skills are the most important factor to consider if their company relocated overseas, with factors such as political instability (23%) and the country's infrastructure (11%) scoring more highly.

In terms of ease of learning, Russian was considered the most difficult language to learn by 37% of respondents, compared to French and German which received just 1% and 2% of the vote respectively. 9% of respondents believe that Welsh is the most difficult language to learn.

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