Language skills training must not be derailed by Brexit

Language skills are vital to maintaining the UK’s place in the world, particularly in the wake of Brexit. Yesterday the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages published its document Brexit & Languages, a checklist for government negotiators and officials that places language skills at the heart of the Brexit negotiations.

A detailed look at the proposals showed that the MPs and peers highlighted four language-specific objectives, including guaranteeing residency status for EU nationals; continuing full involvement in the Erasmus+ programme; committing to legislate to replicate rights outlined in the 2010 European Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings; and a post-Brexit plan in education within schools, business and civil service to meet future linguist requirements.


‘Keeping language in spotlight is key’

“We applaud the continued efforts by the APPG to draw attention to the importance of language training,” said Panos Kraniotis, regional director of Europe at Rosetta Stone. “The UK’s decision to leave the EU will undoubtedly have a big impact on the language landscape and it’s crucial that steps are taken to preserve existing programmes such as Erasmus, as well as to initiate plans that further promote language skills throughout the country.

“Indeed, making an effort to keep language learning in the spotlight post-Brexit will be key for both the education industry and UK businesses hoping to maintain and build international relationships.

“The British are often renowned for being largely monolingual, however, by separating itself from the wider European unit, there’s a chance that at some point other languages, such as French or German, could become more commonplace – particularly around trade agreements.

“As we go forth with Brexit, the government must acknowledge how important it will be for UK businesses – and subsequently, the UK economy – to encourage language learning so that they don’t lose out on business in other European countries, who will have greater access and understanding of international business and culture.”