European Centre for Modern Languages

Language for work competences

Checklists of competences useful to professionals and others, to support work-related majority language (L2) learning by migrants and ethnic minorities
Setting 1
Setting 2
Setting 3
Setting 4

Setting 1: Learner, L2 teacher, L2 learning provider

L2 teacher
L2 learning provider

The key actors in this setting are the learner, the L2 teacher and the L2 learning provider. The learners are mostly job seekers, but they may also be employees wanting to improve their L2 skills to find a better or more secure position.

The provision is classroom-based, and often structured as a course. 

Work placements may be included, but visits to workplaces of interest to learners are more common. 

Instruction is the predominant mode of support for learning, but with some support for self-directed and autonomous learning – such encouragingt internet research by learners, language observation tasks focused on communication at work or in everyday life outside the classroom; also,  peer-learning and peer-coaching. 

Examples of Setting 1

LanCook (Finland)

LanCook was a three-year EU-funded Lifelong Learning project (December 2011-2014). The project focused on the language of work tasks and workplace activity. It included the creation of language learning materials in seven languages. These materials used digital technology to enable and support innovative approaches to language learning.
View example

Radio project (France)

This approach aims to help learners to explain precisely what they do at work. It involves learners creating a radio programme in which they talk about what they do at work. It was developed by ALPES (Association lyonnaise de promotion et d'éducation sociale).
View example

Russian for migrants (Russia) 

The approach is based on a flexible, expandable workplace curriculum. This curriculum covers eight topic areas: Greetings – First days in Russia – Living and working in Russia, learning Russian – Shopping – In Town – Healthcare and insurance – Work time, free time – Being law-abiding.
View example


Weissenberg J., Sprachbedarfsermittlung im berufsbezogenen Unterricht Deutsch als Zweitsprache, Ein Leitfaden für die Praxis (Practical guide to language needs assessment in vocational teaching of German as a second language), passage gGmbH, Hamburg, 2012.