A lost 3.5% of GDP due to missed business opportunities. That’s a lot of money not landing on these shores as a direct result of our language skills being below par in an international arena.
Our pre-Covid GDP in 2019 was £2.17 trillion according to Statista data. A trillion is a million million. It’s such a high figure it’s intangible and incalculable.
Understandably the All Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, who revealed this statistic in 2019, was concerned.
Its concern was echoed in a joint statement put out by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the British Academy, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Royal Society last year. They concluded that “monolingualism [is] the illiteracy of the 21st century”.
Why are UK businesses lagging behind with language skills?
UK businesses haven’t traditionally placed a great emphasis on language skills amongst their workforces. Instead, they’ve largely relied on the English language being spoken in a high % of other countries.
Yes, the English language is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world.
But the same report by the All Party Parliamentary Group claimed that “SMEs who deploy languages report 43% higher export/turnover ratios.”
What’s the solution to the potentially damaging lack of language skills?
The British Council’s Head of School Programmes Mark Herbert asserted that “we will need more of our young people to be equipped and willing to study and work internationally.”
Herbert suggested the country risks being left if UK businesses don’t address their language skills shortages.
At La Academia we’re firm believers that no age is too young to start learning language skills. We teach children from nursery level through to GSCE and A-Level, helping equip them with the language skills they need to become successful business people of the future.
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The Cost Of Britain’s Language Problem, Samuel Kerr, New Statesman
Gross domestic product of the United Kingdom from 1948 to 2020, Statista