Young people from two Midlothian high schools had the opportunity to engage with local companies at a special business brunch recently.
S3 and S4 students fromNewbattle Community High School and Penicuik High School joined 140 learners to hear from a range of business leaders who view language skills as key to the growth and success of their company.
The Business Brunch 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.
Pupils found the event inspiring, learning about the jobs and different cultures.
In his keynote speech Callam Fletcher, interim CEO of Asia Scotland Institute, said: “I went to Valencia with Erasmus during my IT degree and loved it! I knew French, and Spanish and French are quite similar. Later, I founded an IT company in the Czech Republic.
“At the beginning I had no Czech, but I knew from my experience of French and Spanish that I would learn it. Companies all over the world are becoming more international and language is one of those resources that unlock opportunities.”
The event was organised by SCILT, Scotland’s National Centre for Languages in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages (UCML) Scotland. Companies attending included Asia Scotland Institute, National Galleries Scotland and Scotsman Hotel.
SCILT director Fhiona Fisher 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.”
Meaningful employer engagement and providing relevant careers advice are both key recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy. This Business Brunch supported these aims by giving young people the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the role of languages in the business world.
The event is one of a series of Business Brunches being held across Scotland in January and February.