PUPILS from Cumnock, Auchinleck, Sanquhar and St Joseph’s academies were making links with major local businesses at an event at Prestwick Airport last week.

Over 80 S3-S6 pupils heard from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.

The event “Broaden your horizons with languages” demonstrated the relevance of language skills in a work context and aimed to encourage pupils to continue with their language studies into the senior phase of their secondary education, and beyond school.

A teacher from Auchinleck Academy said: “Today’s event has opened learners’ eyes to the competitive job market and how working hard at languages can really be worthwhile and improve their job prospects.”

Jim Fleeting, former Director of Football Development at the Scottish Football Association and a speaker at the event, stated: “The group of pupils who attended today seemed very positive and it is so exciting to be involved in a session like this.

“I would encourage young people to be ambitious to take up the challenge of learning languages. They will be a valuable asset for their future.”

The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages based at University of Strathclyde, in partnership with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Ayrshire. Companies attending included Choice Language, Supreme Tours, ARCS Partnership, Language Within, The Park Hotel Ayrshire, Radio Lingua, Scottish Football Association and easyJet.

Fhiona Mackay, Director of SCILT said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high quality careers advice delivered by the business people themselves and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world.”

The targets laid out in the Scottish Attainment Challenge are about achieving equity in educational outcomes, with a particular focus on closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

This collaboration between schools and businesses supported Scotland’s International Policy to equip young people with international communication and employability skills that they will need in our increasingly globalised society and economy.

The event is one of a series of employer engagement events being held across Ayrshire during this academic session. These events are organised by SCILT and DYW Ayrshire and aim to promote language skills.

More information on the work of SCILT to promote languages for employability is available on the website http://www.scilt.org.uk/Business/tabid/1297/Default.aspx.