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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-01451: Ruth Maguire (Cunninghame South)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 13 July 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what it considers the potential benefits are to young people of learning a foreign language in terms of (a) future employment prospects and (b) increasing cultural awareness.

Answered by: John Swinney 28 July 2016

The Scottish Government recognises that language learning offers key life skills and should be available to all as part of school education.

Specifically language skills help young people’s future employment prospects by equipping them with a range of skills which employers value highly: the ability to communicate effectively, but also cultural understanding and an openness to new experiences and global opportunities. Many global companies now view language skills as essential to career development.

Young people learning languages more effectively therefore underpins a more successful Scotland, with opportunities for all to flourish through increasing internationalisation and sustainable economic growth.

Language learning also contributes to an increasing cultural awareness, helping people understand how to live and work with people from different backgrounds. The benefit to the individual is complemented by a wider societal impact, encouraging tolerance, awareness of the wider world and a greater understanding and respect of others’ beliefs and attitudes.