Generation Global

Helping schools to incorporate languages into curricula. Assisting young people to identify career pathways which need language skills.

Making space for languages

Useful links

What can you do with a languages degree? Article from Times Higher Education (October 2019), exploring what you will learn during a languages course, and popular careers after graduation.

The Target Jobs website lists the range of skills acquired by graduates in languages, and some of the career pathways available to them.

Six great jobs that need foreign languages. Article from Success at School website, listing six of the main careers open to speakers of other languages.

Top 5 Jobs for Language Graduates (Not Translation!) The Top Universities website (February 2016) explores five exciting careers, other than teaching and translating, where languages are of great value.

What can I do with a Modern Language degree? Part of the What You Can Do With … series on the Top Universities website, this article explores a range of careers available to graduates in languages.

What can I do with a Language degree? Advice from the Bright Network website on careers where languages and associated soft skills are highly valued.

Language graduates: what jobs are they doing now? Short case studies published by The Guardian (2013) on five graduates in languages.

The World Is Yours: 7 Diverse Types of Jobs That Only Language Majors Can Fill Article from FluentU website which dispels myths about language degrees being useful only for teaching, explores associated intercultural skills and lists seven sectors in which graduates in languages are highly sought after.

Check the My World of Work website, powered by Skills Development Scotland, to explore the vast range of careers where languages are valued.

The Prospects careers portal outlines the valuable skills developed through the study of languages, and the range of careers open to graduates. It also includes some individual case studies.

This search tool operated by the University of Strathclyde’s Careers Service is open to all users.

Download Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce Through Languages, SCILT’s guide with suggested activities that schools could use to encourage young people to consider languages for their future careers.

Consult SCILT’s directory of colleges and universities, in Scotland and elsewhere, which offer courses in or with languages.

Data published in 2017 by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), with detailed information on destinations of language graduates in the United Kingdom. Go to page 36 for information on language graduates.

Data published in 2019 by the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU), with detailed information on destinations of language graduates in the United Kingdom. Go to page 46 for information on language graduates.

Crafting Employability Strategies is a publication which emerged from an ERASMUS+ project involving several European institutions, including the University of Strathclyde. It offers a design for an employability module for Higher Education students with a background in languages.

Top tips

  1. Celebrate the languages spoken in your school/college/university community. Film staff, parents and students speaking their home languages, and show them on your website and around the building; this is both empowering and inspiring for those involved.
  2. Celebrate national days of countries which are represented in your community, with taster language sessions, food, music or events.
  3. Organise speakers and careers events which show the value of languages in the workplace. 
  4. Invite language ambassadors from modern languages departments in Scottish universities to speak to/mentor pupils. The MFL Student Mentoring Project in Wales may give some ideas of how to do this.
  5. Encourage projects which foster collaboration with school/college/university communities in other countries, using different languages. SCILT’s Language Linking Global Thinking is one way to do this.
  6. Engage with events and resources organised by SCILT; sign up to our weekly bulletin to be the first to hear about these!
  7. Ensure that a range of languages, at interest and certification level, is available to students.
  8. Encourage global citizenship, tolerance and cultural understanding.
  9. For schools, encourage a global focus in teaching and learning; how is each subject area taught and regarded around the world? What can we learn from that? Try some CLIL/IDL lessons to strengthen links between languages and other subject areas. Languages Without Limits has some ideas of how to do this.
  10. For universities, establish an Institution-Wide Language Programme. The University of Edinburgh Open Languages courses is a fine example.

Importance of languages to other academic fields

Please scroll through these videos to hear from professionals and academics in different fields and discover why language skills can support study, as well as enhance career prospects.

  • Engineering
  • Tourism (2 videos)
  • Human Geography
  • Law (3 videos)
  • Architecture
  • Art History and academic research
  • International Business

You can also hear from a Depute Head Teacher why it is important to equip learners with languages for their futures.

Success stories « Prev Next »

Key reading

Range of articles on the value of languages and on a range of careers.

A list of key resources and websites, published by Why Study Languages?, to show the wide range of language-related career options.

Three case studies, published by Why Study Languages?, of head teachers who have made languages central to their school curricula.

The Association for Language Learning sets out 700 reasons for learning languages, and how this equip students with the knowledge and skills to take advantage of twenty-first century opportunities.

Paul James Cardwell, a Professor in Law at the University of Strathclyde, examines how study abroad enhances academic achievement and equips graduates with skills which are highly valued by employers in this article Does studying abroad help academic achievement? (European Journal of Higher Education, January 2019).

Born Global is a free-to-use resource for the languages community, with compelling data on the relationships between language learning and employability.

Bernadette Holmes’ article, Global Britain Requires More and Better Language Skills (2017), places languages firmly in the matrix of wider employability skills for the twenty-first century.

Raquel Fernández Sánchez, of Aston University, explores the vital importance of languages to business and careers in Why Languages Make Business Sense.

From the European Commission website, this useful list of example projects will equip teachers with a knowledge of the type of language skills in demand on the labour market, and help them to focus on appropriate outcomes.

From the Career Zone website of the University of Exeter, this resource includes a very useful section on where to find vacancies for jobs that require languages.

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages