GALA Highlights Global Talent Crisis at UK House of Lords

At the House of Lords, the Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) warned the UK Parliament that the deepening shortage of language and cultural skills is putting the UK economy at risk.

Speaking to the all-party parliamentary group on modern languages on behalf of GALA on 22 January, Gary Muddyman, former GALA Chairman and CEO of language-services provider Conversis, argued that the attitude toward languages must change.

"No longer should languages be dismissed as ‘soft skills’," Muddyman said. "As business becomes increasingly borderless, the language skills and cultural competencies of our business leaders will be critical to our economic health."

Muddyman spoke about a new initiative from GALA supported by ManpowerGroup. Dubbed the Global Talent Program (GTP), the initiative seeks to highlight multilingual and multicultural competencies as core talents for today’s global workforce. GTP is a broad, collaborative effort to build a consensus-driven system for understanding and evaluating global talent.

GALA CEO Hans Fenstermacher said: "Monolingual cultures will increasingly lose out in the globalized economy. That’s why GALA’s GTP seeks to elevate languages in the UK, US and beyond to the same level as scientific and technological capabilities. Without language, the global economy simply can’t function."

GALA received a very positive reception at the UK House of Lords. Baroness Coussins, chair of the All-party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, urged action.

"We have robust evidence in the UK showing that our national shortage of language skills amongst school-leavers and graduates is detrimental to our economic growth, to employability, to intercultural understanding and to our influence internationally," she said. "I hope that the GTP will be able to reach out to young people, parents, teachers and businesses in the UK to help motivate and inspire them to take language skills seriously, whatever their discipline or sector."

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