In the context of the Language for Work Network the term language for work embraces three different strands of language development for adult migrants in the context of their linguistic integration into the labour market and into the society at large.
1. Pre-employment language provision
This aims to equip learners with the language skills they need for generic work tasks, common to different sectors and trades. Such as telephoning, explaining a procedure, dealing with forms. It is also likely to include job-search activities, including CV and cover letter and/or email writing, application form filling and job interviews. Lerner groups are typically mixed, e.g.
- unemployed, employees, students/trainees;
- different occupational expertise and work experience;
- different educational backgrounds, personal histories and levels of education.
2. Language provision for specific occupational areas
Targets specific work tasks identified through needs analysis. The training takes place either in the workplace or in a training centre.
Lerner groups are more homogeneous regarding for example:
- from the occupational area;
- focused on the same areas of competence, including the same certification, but
- have different cultural backgrounds, personal histories and levels of education.
3. Provision in the workplace covers
- formal language learning provision tailored to the needs of specific groups of employees of a specific company taking place either in the company or in a training centre. It can take the form of classroom provision, coaching, etc.;
- non-formal language learning provision in the company, for example through mentorship or the designation of a specific member of staff to act as a ‘language champion’ within the organisation;
- informal language learning support, e.g. ad hoc language support offered by managers and staff to migrant colleagues.
In some instances, provision in the workplace seeks to make the workplace a space for learning and language development. In these cases it adopts a systemic approach that takes into account the interests and perspectives of the relevant stakeholders/actors involved in the interaction, including the learners, co-workers, management (mainly HR and L&D), trade union representatives, etc. The learning provider acts not only as language teacher, but also as language consultant, advising the different actors on various language and communication issues that arise around the language skills at work.
Learner groups reflect the composition of the staff re age, gender, etc.
The learners are colleagues in the same organisation, although they may come from different parts of the organisation. They may also have different personal, cultural, linguistic and educational backgrounds.