Notes: Credit Team Manager for Shell
Who are you and what do you do?
I'm Martin Peterson and I'm a Credit Team Manager for Shell. I grew up in Denmark and Greenland, but moved to Scotland when I was 25.
What qualifications do you have?
I have the Danish equivalent to Scottish "Advanced Highers" or "A-Levels" in England. I did attempt to go to university, but let’s say that it was entertaining rather than educational.
What languages did you learn and why?
I learned English and German, which were compulsory in primary and secondary school as well as Swedish/Norwegian – both very similar to Danish, so more a case of ‘getting used to’ the language rather than learning it. I'm currently learning Italian.
How have languages influenced your life?
The most important influence language has had on my life is not anything to do with speaking another language as such, but rather the way languages have given me an understanding of, and allowed me to embrace other cultures. Moving from Denmark to Scotland at the age of 25 didn't feel like a big deal, and now when I travel around Europe regularly I feel as much at home in Krakow as I do in Milan or London. I put this down to being exposed via language learning to different cultures from a young age.
Would you recommend taking up a language even if you think you will not need it?
I would estimate that much less than 1% of all people who learn a foreign language in the UK end up ever using it in a professional capacity. If people decide to learn a language because they think they will need it, or reject the opportunity because they think they won’t, then they are missing the point of learning another language.
Is it true that employers look for language skills? Is English not enough?
It depends on the employers and profession. For a global corporation English is a must, and a second or third language can be a differentiator. I would personally always hire the person with a second language out of two otherwise equally competent candidates as they are likely to be more adaptable and have better problem solving skills.
How many nationalities work in your company?
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