The 2011/05/27 at 14:16
“Language skills needs will increase in the future,” revealed the Elan survey (Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise) carried out in 2006 amongst 2,000 SMEs in the export sector throughout Europe. This statement has not fallen upon deaf ears, but has been picked up on by ESL-Séjours Linguistiques. “The activity of this organism, set up in 1996, is to prepare language stays overseas with classes for children from eight years upwards, for adults and students, seniors and families, as well as professionals and executives,” outlines Magali Toureille, Manager France, who has tertiary qualifications in languages and is also a graduate of the Nouvelles Frontières tourism school. Who are these professionals? Employees, managers, secretaries... A whole panel of hierarchical levels and ages, from 35 to 55 years. Sectors are airlines, engineers, international salespersons, insurance companies and the media. Also targeted are businesses that promote French employees’ rights to request vocational training (the French DIF system) and that seek an approved training organism such as ESL-Séjours Linguistiques.
“When trainees have not studied for a long time, an overseas stay is a good way to quickly make up for a lack of practice. Undertaken regularly, it is a key factor for maintaining a good level,” explains Magali Toureille. English remains the most requested language. “There is always a need. If you have already learned everyday English, you can request lessons in technical English. In all, we teach twenty languages. Certain are rare, such as Thai or Turkish. Others are attracting more and more people: Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Mandarin,” she lists. Nominated the best agency in September 2011 by the British magazine Hothouse amongst thousands of schools worldwide, ESL-Séjours Linguistiques also allows its language trainees to benefit from its network of schools based overseas. The organism is present internationally with some thirty offices worldwide: the Madrid and Berlin offices were the last to open in March 2011.
To make its formula even more relevant and original, ESL-Séjours Linguistiques offers “total immersion”. “We put professionals into situations that they will be familiar with. For example, a business lunch or an evening with a business partner. The ideal is the one-to-one formula where the trainee lives with the teacher, bathing in the culture and integrated into everyday life.” Indeed, cross-cultural understanding of how different cultures meet is at the basis of communication in foreign languages today. The development of businesses internationally is accompanied by a growing awareness of cultural specificities. Understanding the other enables one to better adapt, and hence, negotiate. By confronting trainees with a wide range of situations, ESL-Séjours Linguistiques language stays set out to offer no less than a “foreign culture”. What remains to be defined is the right programme for a specific trainee. One-to-one stays remain the most requested ones. The option of private lessons at a teacher’s home allows the number of lessons to be selected as well as the teacher particularly adapted to a company executive client. A programme of 20 hours of lessons will cost around 900 euros.
Accommodation in a private room, documents and textbooks, as well as meals are included in this price. Clients must take care of airfares themselves. The second, more classic offer, consists of lessons within a language school – an option that offers French trainees, for example, the advantage of learning English while networking with the other four trainees in the group, also company executives. “The fact that we are set up in many countries contributes to drawing diverse nationalities amongst trainees, which is very enriching for professionals,” points out Magali Toureille. Another formula consists in specialised human resources classes. Finally, the last formula is specially for engineers and project managers. Tutors in this case have worked in industry, in the trainees’ own domains of competence. “We continually change our offers but we always remain on the upper-end in terms of services, while remaining affordable when it comes to fees,” concludes Magali Toureille.