European Centre for Modern Languages

About Language for work

The network was created through a project funded by the European Centre for Modern Languages, part of the Council of Europe.

Language for work (LfW) brings together two projects of the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe carried out between 2012 and 2018. It includes a coherent approach to work-related second language development with special attention to the integration of migrants and refugees and ethnic minorities. LfW refers both to the present website and to a European network.

This website contains a comprehensive set of resources, outlining both competences and examples of practice. At the same time, it acts as a platform for an active network of professionals in the field, where teachers, providers, employers and authorities can share expertise and develop practice. Language for Work website brings together the results of the 2 ECML projects: 

The LfW Network operates on a voluntary basis as a not‐for‐profit membership organisation of professionals engaged in the field of work-related language learning for adult migrants and ethnic minorities.

Why work-related L2 learning?

The logic chain

  1. Integration of migrants is essential for society
  2. Work is central to migrant integration
  3. Communication is central to modern work practices*
  4. The ability to communicate effectively at work is crucial for migrants, employers, wider society
  5. Work-related language learning matters!

* Workers need to understand work, safety and quality issues, understand workplace rights and responsibilities, participate in relevant social networks, access training, etc., to cope with change and progress , and more…

Complex, boundary crossing

Work-related L2 learning is complex and boundary crossing – this field encompasses work, migration, intercultural communication, social policy, learning, language, literacy, linguistics, labour market, people management…and more.

It occurs in a range of contexts, including

  • Pre-employment L2 learning for immigrants, also emigrants
  • L2 learning in vocational schools
  • Work-related learning in integration courses
  • L2 learning for specific occupational areas, qualifications
  • Workplace L2 learning

Work-related language learning is multi-dimensional, many faceted – but its various strands are strongly connected.


Trainings can be conducted in English, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Italian.

This offer is targeted at teacher trainers, language teachers, vocational teachers, learning providers, civil servants responsible for integration programmes, linguistic researchers, employer organisations and trade unions, human resources, policymakers.
Request ECML Training and Consultancy activity


Find practical tools, research, policy material and links to other relevant sites


Quick guide to work-related language skills: How to help adult migrants develop work-related language skills

Available in Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish and Swedish

Find out more

Communicating with migrants - Guide for staff in job centres and public services

Available in Bulgarian, Dutch English, French, German, Irish, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish

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Kompetenzbeschreibungen für Fachkräfte, die das Sprachenlernen am Arbeitsplatz unterstützen

Available soon


Resources, initiatives and information from the Council of Europe’s LIAM working group

Download the document

Contact us

Three ECML projects

  1. ECML support for the LfW field dates back to 2000 and the project Odysseus‐Second Language At The Workplace.
  2. The LfW network and this website was created by the ECML project Developing migrants’ language competences at the workplace (2012‐2015).
  3. Currently ECML is supporting the project Tools for professional development (2016‐2018). View the video below.

 NEW  Quick Guide to work-related language skills

Available in Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Irish, Italian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish

Find out more

Would you like to translate the guide into your language? If so, please let us know via the contact form.