Careers with languages: A world of opportunitiesPosted: January 24, 2014
In an increasingly globalised environment, the opportunities for a career with languages continue to grow, as Ireland stands as an attractive location for international companies to locate major headquarters. But it’s not just multi-national firms that have a requirement for graduates and jobseekers with more than one language. Hundreds of indigenous well-established companies and organisations, in addition to exciting start-up firms, are also offering opportunities for those with language fluency. Languages broaden your horizons, as well as you career opportunities, making you a true global citizen, able to work abroad, or work with foreign companies and clients from Ireland. Employers are constantly looking for graduates with the right mix of language fluency, and the upcoming GRADchances Languages Fair aims to address this issue, placing employers and suitable jobseekers face-to-face in an exciting, opportunity-filled event.
Latvian national, and DIT student, Laila Tamosune, speaks six languages and is looking to harness this fluency to work in the business or diplomatic spheres.
My educational background is in Law, having studied it in my native country, Latvia. Currently I am a final year student, studying Tourism management, in DIT. In school I studied a variety of languages including German, Russian and English. I continued my studies in English and German during my undergraduate degree in Latvia. During my time in DIT, I have undertaken further classes in German. My native language is Latvian, but I also have a spoken knowledge of Lithuanian and can speak some Ukrainian.
Currently I have a part time job with Aspects of Ireland, a destination management company, which I managed to secure following an internship. However, my degree is my priority at this moment. Ideally, I am aiming to work for a multinational company or in the diplomatic service. I am looking for a position where I can contribute with my language skills and also apply my professional qualifications. It is growth and progression within any organisation which is most important to me. I believe language skills are great assets that help to distinguish me in the current challenging labour market.
In today’s globalised society, languages are essential for effective communication. In terms of employment, in particular in the Tourism and IT sectors, languages can be viewed as a distinct advantage.
Acquiring a language based degree allows the modern workforce to communicate freely with existing and potential clients and customers, which in turn generate trust and appreciation, and returns custom and loyalty. The importance of language skills cannot be underestimated, especially in Ireland, where we have the European HQ of such global companies as Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, to name but few.
Aisling McNiffe of Financial Services Ireland has worked and lived in five different countries, due to her passion for languages and her ability to be able to work in another language.
For the past decade my career has primarily been based around European and public affairs. Having always loved travelling, visiting new countries and acquiring a passion for European affairs, it seems to have been an ideal career path for me.
I studied European Studies, French, Italian, History and Politics in Trinity College Dublin.
Having both French and Italian were useful for working in the European Union. During my first year at college, I worked locally for a MEP during the holidays, using my language skills to analyse an array of French documents. During Erasmus in Strasbourg, both my French and Italian proved to be valuable while working in an international office there.
Learning languages has opened the world to me. I have lived both in Italy and France for Erasmus. Immersion in a language, by living in the country is so important. It’s the only way you put what you’ve learned into practice. Having studied languages further enabled me to undertake a bilingual Masters in EU affairs and I applied to the College of Europe in Bruges in Belgium.
In 2009 I moved to Brussels and worked in a trade association that represented Engineering Professors across Europe. A lot of our members and board members were based in Italy- therefore having studied the language proved to be valuable when working with our Italian colleagues. You earn someone’s trust sooner when you can both speak their language and display an interest in their culture.
Studying a language alongside a technical skill is an invaluable combination in my opinion. If I’d studied languages alone, apart from translation, it’s possible that not as many doors would have been open to me. So I’d advise people to consider doing for example, business and a language.
In 2010, my next career step brought me to Edinburgh, where I worked in the UK Civil Service in the Scottish Government. Working on Common Fisheries Reform, I attended EU working group meetings in Brussels, where we would work in negotiating the future of fishing across Europe. The head of the European Commission delegation was Italian, and again it helped that I spoke the language, for those social conversations where a lot of the real business is done.
In May 2012 I moved back to the Irish civil service to work on the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU. This position allowed me to practice my French while I learned more about public relations and communications.
All of this enabled me to get my current job working for Financial Services Ireland in 2013, who represent Banks, insurers, fund administrators and managers and other financial services providers. What’s interesting is that I didn’t think there would be much of an international focus to this job. However,I found out a lot of Italian companies base themselves in Ireland as we have a highly educated workforce and therefore an attractive place to do business. Therefore having a background in languages, once again, has proved to be useful for me in my current role.
It’s thanks to languages and an interest in the EU and public policy that I’ve had a wonderful career so far- living in different countries, different continents and working in the public sector, non for profit sector and now private sector!