If you enjoy studying languages and are interested in the culture,
history and people of other countries you might be interested in using
your language skills in your career.
A knowledge of one or more foreign languages can be useful in a wide range of careers. For some jobs, such as translating, interpreting and language teaching, language skills are one of the main requirements. For other jobs a combination of languages and other qualifications, knowledge or skills may be needed. For example, people with languages plus IT, law, finance or sales skills are much sought-after.
Many different jobs involve interacting with people from around the world and being able to speak their language could help you get the job!
Routes into this job sector
There are various types of qualifications available:
- At 14 GCSEs in English and maths will help secure a job, but if you are thinking of a job in languages later it is important that you choose to study at least one foreign language at GCSE level. Many schools have more than one language option. Your school might also offer related vocational qualifications such as BTECs, OCR Nationals, etc. such as Travel and Tourism.
- At 16 you have more options, you could do A Levels, which are general academic subjects or develop your knowledge and skills for this sector through an apprenticeships/ traineeships, vocational qualifications,
- At 18 or 19 your options open further - you may wish to do a higher education/university course, with 8 out of 10 A Level students choosing this pathway and half of all BTEC National students. However there are other routes into your chosen career - through apprenticeships and vocational qualifications
The languages most in demand by businesses in 2016 are French, German and Spanish. (CBI, 2016)
Thinking about a degree?
Spotlight on........Languages Degrees
Languages may not be the easiest to study, but they are in demand. There are a whole range of languages that can be studied and many courses allow a language to be combined with other subjects.
Choosing a Foreign Language Course
It is important to give some thought as to which language you choose to study. You could carry on studying a language that you have been studying at A level or you could choose to start a completely new one. Look carefully at the entry requirements for Language courses as some institutions will ask for A levels in 2 languages.
Take a look at the modules of each course and if they interest you. Many courses not only teach you the language but also the history/culture of the country.
Don't forget to look at the opportunities for work or studying abroad as many institutions will include a placement where you will get to spend some time in the country that speaks the language you are studying.
The Erasmus Programme is an EU exchange student programme that has been in existence since the late 1980's. Its purpose is to provide foreign exchange options for students from within the European Union and it involves many of the best universities in Europe.
The programme is aimed at cross-border cooperation between states to aid the growth of international studying, and with over 4000 students involved in the programme at any one time it offers an excellent chance to experience life abroad.
Studying languages at the University of Bath
Watch the video below to find out a little bit more about the opportunities open to students who study languages
Websites with vacancies in this sector
Why not try a free, online course (MOOC) in this job area?
Future Learn have lots of free, online courses that will improve your knowledge of this job sector and improve your chances of landing your dream job. e.g. The Open University has developed an Italian course for beginners. Click on the following link for more information