PESE - Professional English Skills For Employability Across EU
Currently, the ability to use English to gain employment and carry out specific professional task like delivering presentations or attending international meetings is largely left either to chance or specific in-company on-the-job training. This project focuses on providing unemployed learners with skills to use English in a professional context. This upskilling is intended to enhance the learner employability. This is particularly relevant in those EU countries where unemployment is 23%. It should be added that at the time of writing with Europe being the epicentre of Covid-19, with possibly massive mid-term implications for the job market, training for employability becomes ever the more relevant. Skills development can reduce unemployment, raise incomes, and improve standards of living (The World Bank). While this type of training is often, ironically, available for those already employed, this project will address the priority of enhancing access to training and qualifications for all.
This project highlights the importance of English skills so that they are appropriate for the workplace. According to research by leading publisher, Pearson, while 92 percent of global employees report that English is important for their career progression, only 7% of non-native English speakers in global companies believe they can communicate effectively at work – for example, when using English in emails, conversations, phone calls or meetings. As a result, businesses are missing out on crucial benefits to the bottom line: Pearson found that improved English skills can boost a businesses’ productivity. On average, companies gained one working week per year, per employee. For a multinational business this means thousands of weeks per year. According to a recent study analyzing the return on investment of communications, companies that are effective communicators have a 47 % higher total return to shareholders over a 5-year period compared to those who weren’t effective in this area. This priority of supporting the uptake of innovative approaches and digital technologies for teaching and learning because all outputs are readily accessible online and therefore represent cost-effective training for the unemployed and remove the burden from employers who may have to invest in a new employee’s shortfall in linguistic competency.
The priority of social Inclusion has been chosen because although English is taught in general way in a variety of educational settings including language school- there has been little emphasis on providing learners with the professional English skills that they actually need in the work place, such as holding meetings, writing professional emails and giving effective presentations with a full awareness of the psycho-linguistic devices needed. While access to such training can be achieved with in-company Business English classes, this obviously relies on employment and usually a certain professional status. For the unemployed, who vitally need the training, no such pathways exist.