High school students urged to learn foreign languages ​​to improve career prospects


Secondary school students are encouraged to improve their career prospects by studying foreign languages.

Some 3,000 students attended an event at the Dublin Convention Center aimed at highlighting the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of language learning.

While most Irish pupils study foreign languages ​​at school, surveys show that Irish adults lag behind other Europeans when it comes to language skills.

Karen Ruddock, director of Post Primary Languages ​​Ireland, said the global dominance of English has given rise to the misguided belief that “English is enough”.

This, she says, can lead to complacency and a lack of motivation to learn other languages.

“Today’s event aims to spread the message that learning a foreign language will create more work opportunities, more chances to make friends and have great life experiences”, she said.

Rising demand

Friday’s event featured dozens of exhibiting organizations and fun language-learning workshops ranging from French food tasting, capoeira – an Afro-Brazilian martial art demonstration – and Chinese calligraphy.

In a sign of the growing demand for a multilingual workforce, the France-Ireland Chamber of Commerce, the French television channel TV5Monde and the European Parliament were also among those who also distinguished themselves at the event,

Tier 3 colleges also showcased their foreign language courses as well as organizations that seek to provide students with language exchange opportunities.

A video recorded by Post-Primary Languages ​​Ireland, which organized the event, included quotes from career and business experts highlighting the growing importance of knowing more foreign languages.

Julie Sinnamon, Managing Director of Enterprise Ireland, said: “In the context of Brexit, we have set an ambitious target for Enterprise Ireland to increase exports outside the UK by 50% by 2020 and if you want to be taken seriously in foreign countries, you really have to know how to speak the language”.

IDA chief executive Mary Buckley said Ireland was competing with other places in the world to attract foreign direct investment.

“A lot of these developed economies have people who speak multiple languages ​​and we need to be competitive in this space,” she said.

Orlaith Tunney of Career Services at Trinity College Dublin, said students with a language can access a diverse range of fields from “writing to business to technical to diplomacy, international law , politics, there’s a whole range of possibilities, it’s just limitless.”


As part of a ten-year strategy of the Ministry of Education, it is planned to increase by 25% the number of students taking two languages ​​in state exams.

The aim is also to increase to 20% the proportion of the higher education cohort studying a foreign language, in whatever capacity, as part of their curriculum.

Next year, a number of new languages ​​will join the Leaving Cert program with the aim of strengthening students’ “mother tongues” with Polish, Lithuanian, Portuguese and Chinese.


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