Baroness Coussins, Co-Chair of the APPG on Modern Languages and Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Linguists, spoke today about the necessity for language skills to be considered as part of the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill. As part of her speech she cited three Cambridge-based technology organisations, Viridian Solar, Alchemie, and the i-Teams innovation programme. Amy Weatherup, i-Teams Programme Director was quoted as saying:
“language skills are a key advantage”
that innovators “need to be able to communicate both through language and across cultures. It cannot be assumed that all the people with whom they must work … can speak English.”
The success of i-Teams projects relies on the multi-disciplinary and diverse nature of the project teams, with language skills being a key part of that. For example, in one recent project, the closest competitor was located in Japan and the team happened to include a Japanese speaker, which enabled them to have a very useful and fruitful conversation.
Baroness Coussins’ full speech is available on Hansard.