7 August 2015

We are pleased to announce that Skills Funding Agency (SFA) Adult Skills Budget (ASB) funding has been confirmed for a huge range of ABC Awards language qualifications.

This includes Entry Level and Level 1 qualifications in British Sign Language, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. These qualifications offer a practical classroom-based entry route to learning, covering the critical speaking, listening, reading and writing skills learners need to put their language skills into practice in employment and in the community.

Language skills are increasingly important to employers in an increasingly globalised economy. A report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Modern Languages found that the UK economy is already losing £48bn a year due to a lack of language skills in the workforce. Today, it is believed knowing only English is just as damaging to employment prospects as knowing no English.

This does not only apply to international business. Tourism in Britain has been identified as a key sector for economic growth by Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), offering a wealth of employment opportunities in accommodation, retail, transport, food and drink and attractions, across skills levels and age ranges. However, one of the challenges to this are skills and training needs of the workforce. Being able to communicate with tourists in their native language could put potential employees at an advantage.

Miguel Silva of Birmingham Adult Education Service said:

“Language learning allows you to see the world from a different perspective. It is much more than learning new vocabulary or grammar rules. The language learner is required to develop advanced communication skills to interpret tone, context, and body language.

Therefore we needed a qualification that would allow us to test not only the cognitive aspects of the target language, but its communicative dimension.  The ABC qualifications allow us to design assessments that test these, and frame the assessments within a context or topic that is relevant to our learners.”

Details of all ABC qualifications eligible for SFA funding can be found in the latest Simplified Rates Funding Catalogue.

For more information please contact Sarah or Emma, our dedicated Centre Support Officers for Languages, by email or by calling 0115 854 1620.