University of Salford – Language Gateways into the Professions: Arabic for students on Built Environment degrees

Author(s): Teresa Birks
Institution/Organisation: CILT, the National Centre for Languages (UK)

1. DESCRIPTION OF THE SUCCESS CASE

1.1 Scope of the initiative

Overall

The Language Gateways into the Professions project is an innovative partnership project coordinated by CILT, the National Centre for Languages and funded by DIUS, the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Partners in the project include the modern languages departments and vocational (engineering or built environment) departments within the Universities of Bristol, Kingston, Loughborough and Salford working in collaboration with sector skills councils, professional bodies and employer to design and deliver contextualised language courses to students on engineering and built environment degrees.

The four partner HEIs developed courses autonomously from one another though shared and learnt from each other’s experiences over a period of one year during which the four HEIs and other partners met four times.

Specific – Salford

1.2 Range of languages learned

1.3 Learning outcomes

1.4 Practical realisation



2. BACKGROUND TO THE INITIATIVE

2.1 Context

General

In response to ‘The Gateways into the Professions’ report produced by Sir Alan Langlands (2005) a number of projects including the Language Gateways into the Professions, were funded by the government in order to tackle the full range of issues and barriers faced by people seeking to enter the professions through higher education.  The 4 key themes arising from the report were recruitment and retention to the professions; student finance/debt; widening participation and collaborative working.

In addition to the Langlands report, the Gateways projects were developed with reference to the Leitch Review of Skills in England (2006) by encouraging collaborative working and strengthening partnerships between key stakeholders including Government, HEIs, Sector Skills Councils and Professional Bodies.

With reference to languages, the Langlands report noted that, ‘lack of protection of the title linguist is the biggest single barrier to entry into the professions which can include translators, interpreters, bilingual practitioners of other professions and trainers and teachers of modern foreign languages.’

The report also noted that, ‘there is competition from graduates from EU and non-EU countries who can offer not only their own language and English but also mainstream skills such as law and accountancy’ and that, ‘closure of language departments in universities and other HEIs due to lack of finance will mean even fewer linguists in the future.’.

Routes into Languages

This is a three-year programme funded by HEFCE and the DCSF with the aim of widening participation and increasing the take up of languages in HEIs. Bristol University is a partner in the Routes South West Regional Consortium.

Languages Diploma

The government is planning an overhaul of the 14-19 curriculum via Diplomas including the specialised Language Diploma and the vocational Engineering and Construction Skills Diplomas, which allow for optional language study.

Specific - Salford


2.2 Strategic goals of the initiative

Overall aims

This project aimed to:

Specific aims - Salford

 

3. SUCCESS INDICATORS

General

Salford

4. SUCCESS FACTORS

5. LESSONS TO BE LEARNED

5.1 Lessons to be learned at institutional level

5.2 Broader implications