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Promoting the take-up of languages and student mobility

Careers Using Languages Conference

Region: 
Yorkshire and the Humber
On Friday 3rd July the Languages team at York St John University ran their fourth annual Careers using Languages conference, funded by Routes into Languages, welcoming a group from local school Millthorpe and some VI formers from Joseph Rowntree School as well as schools from further afield: Lady Lumley’s from Pickering, Brigshaw High School, Castleford and Don Valley Academy, Doncaster.
 
Numbers were low compared to last year as some schools dropped out very near the event, and it was too short notice for other schools to attend, but with a total of 68 students it was still a respectable showing.
 
Our Keynote speaker this year was ‘Hugh’, a linguist from GCHQ. We had not been able to advertise his presence in advance for security reasons, but our select audience heard how language skills are vital to the intelligence work that GCHQ does.
 
For the rest of the day the students had the opportunity to attend workshops on the value of language and cultural knowledge in different sectors.
 
Hugh ran taster sessions in Arabic, entitled Titkallam ‘arabee? while there was also The Orient Express, a taster in Japanese language and culture run by Mizumi Nango and BSL in the workplace – signs for success run by Dai O’Brien.
 
Due to their popularity in previous years, we had invited back Sally Fagan of Business Language Champions who ran a session entitled How to train your international dragon which got students creating an ice-breaker activity in either French, German or Spanish, and Ben Dobbs, a trainer in interpersonal and intercultural skills whose session Communicating Internationally – Languages, Cultures and Personalities had students thinking about all the ways in which we communicate – not just using language!
 
Students also got an opportunity to have a go at interpreting with the always-popular Could you be an interpreter? run by Tamara Muroiwa and Nathaniel Elcock from the National Network of Interpreters, and Marion Martinez asked students Study Abroad – Why take the plunge?
 
New for this year was The importance of languages in the hospitality industry run by Christophe Ughetto from York Novotel explaining how languages are vital for communicating not just with tourists but with an international staff. Christophe proved to be a big hit with the students!
 
The majority of students gave positive feedback (all but three thought it excellent or good) and there were many enthusiastic comments: “All lectures and taster sessions were well planned and well delivered. Found the opening lecture interesting as to the roles in industry having a language can benefit,” said one teacher.
Comments from students include: “Motivated my thinking about languages and my future.” “It was good to find out what languages achieve in life.” “The event overall was very good and I learnt many skills.” “On behalf of all the students your event is spectacular.” “I really like the event it gave us an insight of what you can do with languages.” Students also provided us with constructive suggestions such as: “I would like it if there were more interactive events,” and “I would like more opportunities in the future to do events like this.”
 
For further information about events for schools at York St John University, please see our website or contact languages@yorksj.ac.uk.