Royal and Prior pupils hear of economic importance of language learning

LANGUAGES Connect welcomed Transition Year students from the Royal and Prior in Raphoe accompanied by teachers Mrs Mulholland and Mrs Gallinagh to the Convention Centre, Dublin, for their flagship event, #ThinkLanguages.

As an awareness raising campaign, facilitated by Post-Primary Languages Ireland, Languages Connect aims to highlight the personal, social, professional and economic benefits of language learning. 

Students attending #ThinkLanguages were encouraged to think about the global opportunities, the wider circle of friends, the richer life experiences and the greater travel opportunities that foreign language skills can offer them. 

This is the second year that Royal and Prior TY students attended the annual event which saw 70 exhibiting organisations, 30 fun language-learning workshops as well as a talk from keynote speaker and multi-linguist, Hector Ó hEochagáin and interpreting demonstrations from seven European Commission interpreters.

Additional talks were delivered by French speaking and former BT Young Scientist Business Bootcamp ‘Best Individual Student’, Heather Murphy, and Brightwaters Recruitment's supply chain and pharma consultant, Marc Bentley, who sees first-hand the demand for employees with foreign language skills. 

Heather discussed how an additional language has opened doors for her while Marc detailed the increasing demand they are seeing from companies for bi- and multilingual candidates.

Workshops available ranged from Portuguese with Capoeira and Chinese Calligraphy. #ThinkLanguages gave students the opportunity to experience and understand how learning foreign languages can have a tangible, real-life impact socially, cultural and professionally.

Commenting on the event, Karen Ruddock, director, Post Primary Languages Ireland, said: “We are active at all of the major student events throughout the year, so it was great to be able to welcome the TY students from Royal and Prior Comprehensive School to our own #ThinkLanguages event”. TY students are now considering what they will study for their Leaving Cert and beyond.

“By showing them the benefits that foreign language skills give them in their life and career, we want to encourage them to keep up their foreign languages and maybe even take on another language for the leaving. #ThinkLanguages was a language class with a difference-it opened student's minds and really brought many different aspects of languages to life.”

Recognising the increasing demand for a multilingual workforce, the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce, French TV channel, TV5Monde, and the European Parliament among others had a stand at #ThínkLanguages.

Third level colleges showcased their courses in foreign languages as well as organisations that offer opportunities to students for language exchange.

Part of the purpose of the event was to establish greater links across sectors to support language learning, cultural awareness and to raise awareness of career options and opportunities for studying abroad.

All had a fantastic day which finished off with some retail therapy in the Swords Pavilion Shopping Centre. Huge congratulations to Royal student Hanna Wauchope who entered an Instagram competition at the event and won an iPad.

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