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Departments: Languages

Volume 461: debated on Monday 4 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if she will publish the new language teaching business model. (138899)

The invitation to tender for the provision of language training for Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff will set out explicitly the specifications for delivering language training and will be available through the FCO website:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/servlet/Front?pagename=OpenMarket/Xcelerate/ShowPage&c=Page&cid=l173560622480.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in her Department she expects to be trained in a foreign language in each of the first three years of the new language teaching business model; in how many languages training will be available in each year; and what proportion of training will be carried out overseas in each year. (138905)

At present the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has around 900 overseas jobs requiring specific levels of language skills, although this number will fluctuate to reflect business need.

The 22 languages identified as having the highest strategic importance are: French, Spanish (Latin American and European), German, Portuguese (Brazilian and European), Russian, Turkish, Italian, Arabic, Urdu, Dari, Farsi, Pashtu, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, Indonesian, Burmese, Thai and Vietnamese.

The proportion of language training carried out overseas varies between languages, but it is proposed that in-country training will increase from current levels for those requiring a high proficiency level.