“I’m just a linguist – all I can do is teach or translate”. Broadening language graduates’ horizons through employer engagement

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© 2017 Dawn Leggott.

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Employers in the UK recognise that a lack of language skills can limit their company’s international growth. Many students on language degrees, however, feel unprepared for working in a business environment. The final year ‘Working with Languages’ module on Leeds Beckett University’s language degrees aims to help the students to expand their career horizons beyond teaching and translating through real-world engagement with local employers. This chapter will summarise the implementation and impact of this core module and highlight some extra-curricular employer engagement2 activities for students on language degrees. Language graduates can bring much more to a small, medium or large international business than they may think. Employer engagement, whether embedded within the curriculum or offered as an extra-curricular option, can help them to realise that they are not ‘just a linguist’ and can add value through their communication skills and international mind-set.

Keywords: languages, jobs, employability, employer engagement, work-related learning, authentic project.


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Leggott, Dawn. (2017). “I’m just a linguist – all I can do is teach or translate”. Broadening language graduates’ horizons through employer engagement. In Carmen Álvarez-Mayo, Angela Gallagher-Brett, Franck Michel (Eds), Innovative language teaching and learning at university: enhancing employability (pp. 29-36). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2017.innoconf2016.652

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