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Born Global: A British Academy Project on Languages and Employability

On this page you will find information on the purpose and aims of Born Global, the context in which the project was undertaken, and the evidence gathered.

Download a detailed overview of the project ‘About Born Global’ here.

The full data sets, each accompanied by a summary booklet, are available to download from the Born Global evidence page.

Information on how to use the data is available on the How to use the Born Global evidence page.

The British Academy’s own report on the implications of the evidence for Higher Education is available from the Born Global: Implications for Higher Education page.

A summary of interim findings published in Autumn 2014 is available here.

What is Born Global?

Born Global is an open and free-to-use resource for the languages community: universities, teachers, employers, researchers, and students.

We have collected data, both quantitative and qualitative, on the complex relationships between language learning and employability.

All the data is published in full on the Born Global evidence page, and each data set is accompanied by a booklet with background information and a summary of key findings. We invite the language community to use our evidence to help make the case for the importance of languages – from teaching at primary school right through to university research.

The Academy has used this evidence in its own report, Born Global: Implications for Higher Education, offering some reflections on the current state of play for languages at university.

The Evidence

 The British Academy commissioned the following research:

  • SME Omnibus Survey
    In Autumn 2014, the British Academy commissioned a bespoke survey of 410 UK SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises). The sample was nationally representative, in terms of sector, size and location.
  • Languages at Work Survey
    In October 2014, the British Academy in collaboration with the Education and Employers Task Force carried out a survey of the Inspiring the Future Network, a network of individuals from a range of sectors who use languages in the workplace.
  • Bringing Languages to Life
    An in-depth look at 10 respondents to the Languages at Work survey.
  • Study of a cohort of Institution Wide Language Programme (IWLP) students at LSE
    The British Academy commissioned the London School of Economics to follow a cohort of IWLP students in the academic year 2014 – 2015 to document and analyse their motivations, attitudes, and progress.
  • British Cohort Study analysis
    In 2014, the British Academy commissioned the Education and Employers Taskforce to analyse the British Cohort Study (BCS) longitudinal data set to see if language study was linked to labour market advantages such as wage premiums, employment outcomes and job satisfaction.

Steering Group

The project has benefited from the energy and commitment of its Principal Researcher, Bernardette Holmes, and of its Chair, Richard Hardie, Senior Adviser to UBS in the UK.

Born Global was overseen by a high level Steering Group convened by the British Academy:

  • Richard Hardie, Senior Adviser to UBS in the UK (Chair)
  • Rob Wall, Head of Education and Employment, Confederation of British Industry (CBI)
  • Nick Chambers, Director of the Education and Employers Taskforce
  • Sir Peter Job, Formerly Director of Reuters (CEO), Schroders, Royal Dutch Shell and Deutsche Bank
  • Dr Adam Marshall, Director of Policy and External Affairs, British Chambers of Commerce
  • Professor Rosamond Mitchell, Chair in Applied Linguistics at the University of Southampton
  • Professor Sir Adam Roberts FBA, Former President of the British Academy
  • Professor Michael Worton, Former Vice-Provost (International) of University College London

Principal Researcher: Bernardette Holmes MBE

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Born Global evidence

We have made all the data from Born Global available to anyone who wishes to use it. Each data set is accompanied by a booklet with background information and a summary of key findings.

For information on how to use the evidence, please see the How to use the Born Global evidence page.


SME Omnibus Survey

Purpose: to find out more about Small and Medium sized Enterprise (SME) language needs and how they are met, as well as employer attitudes to languages and their perceived benefits to individuals, their organisations and the UK economy.

In Autumn 2014, the British Academy commissioned a bespoke survey of 410 UK SMEs. The sample was nationally representative, in terms of sector, size and location.


Languages at Work Survey

Purpose: to find out more about how, where, at what level and for what purpose languages are used in the workplace.

In October 2014, the British Academy in collaboration with the Education and Employers Task Force carried out a survey of the Inspiring the Future Network, a network of individuals from a range of sectors who use languages in the workplace.


Bringing Languages to Life

Purpose: to find out more about multilingual employees attitudes towards and perceptions of languages and their benefits to individuals in the workplace.

An in-depth look at 10 respondents to the Languages at Work survey.


Study of a cohort of Institution Wide Language Programme (IWLP) students at LSE

Purpose: to document and analyse IWLP students motivations, attitudes and progress.

The British Academy commissioned the London School of Economics to follow a cohort of IWLP students in the academic year 2014–2015.


British Cohort Study analysis

Purpose: to see if language study was linked to labour market advantages such as wage premiums, employment outcomes and job satisfaction.

In 2014, the British Academy commissioned the Education and Employers Taskforce to analyse the British Cohort Study (BCS) longitudinal data set.

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How to use the Born Global evidence

Born Global is an open and free-to-use resource. The data is available to any organisation or individual, and we encourage you to make use of it.

As part of this we encourage the languages community (universities, teachers, employers, researchers, and students) to use the evidence to help make the case for the importance of languages – from teaching at primary school right through to university research.

Please get in touch if you are planning to publish a report / produce an analysis of the data. The British Academy will support these endeavours through promotion of the work.

Please include the following disclaimer when using the data:

  • “The British Academy does not automatically endorse the findings of secondary analysis of the Born Global data by third parties.”

Please refer to the data as:

  • “British Academy Born Global data”

When referring to the project, please use the following:

  • “Born Global is a British Academy project on languages and employability.”

or

  • “Born Global is a British Academy project on language skills for employability, trade and business.”

Please see the British Academy’s own report Born Global: Implications for Higher Education for an example of how the data can be used.

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Born Global: Implications for Higher Education

Download the British Academy report Born Global: Implications for Higher Education.

At the outset of the Born Global project, recurrent reports and surveys had indicated high levels of unmet employer demand for language skills, alongside other soft skills such as communication, problem-solving and intercultural skills.

This came against a backdrop of decline in the take-up of languages at all levels, an increasingly multilingual society in the United Kingdom, and an increasingly global and mobile labour market, with ever more businesses trading internationally to meet an ambitious Government export agenda.

In this context, the British Academy set out to gather evidence to develop a deeper understanding of the language needs for employment, employer attitudes to languages and how language is used in the workplace for different purposes, by employees of different levels of skill and accountability.

To reflect the Academy’s longstanding concerns in the area of languages, its particular interest in Higher Education and research and its role in assessing and maintaining the health of its disciplines, it has produced a report on the implications of the Born Global evidence for higher education, Born Global: Implications for Higher Education.

The report draws on the Born Global evidence, as well as consultation with key stakeholders in the higher education sector.

This report also serves as an example of how the Born Global evidence can be used to address a particular issue or area of interest, and we encourage individuals and organisations to do the same.

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Born Global Symposium, 17 October 2014

A Symposium was held to discuss the interim findings of the Born Global reseach project. The summary of interim findings can be downloaded here.

 

Info

Publication date: 2016

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