A few weeks after the start of the new ECML programme Languages at the heart of learning (2016-2019) the Language for Work Network’s new project – Tools for professional development started its activities with a workshop in Donostia/San Sebastian on 22nd January. The event, organised by the Association Banaiz Bagara and the Oarsoaldea Development Agency, brought together around 30 employment counsellors, language providers of Basque companies and interested individuals.
The date seemed a good omen for the workshop and the project, being the eve of the official inauguration of Donostia as culture capital of Europe, with strong reference to the idea of diversity. Diversity is an aspect – implicit and explicit – of the LfW project: diversity of languages connected to migration, diversity of contexts of work-related development, diversity of approaches disseminated by the network, etc. and the belief of benefiting from this variety of diversities.
The workshop focused on questions of particular relevance for a bilingual country facing the linguistic challenge of migrations: How to help employers identify language needs of their company? How to take into account the language needs of our bilingual society? Do migrants’ languages provide value to the local labour market? How to give workers adequate training to use the languages requested by the labor market?
In their key contributions at the beginning of the event, the LfW coordinator, Matilde Grünhage-Monetti, and the LfW member, Petra Elser, director of Banaiz Bagara, presented the project, network and website addressing the issues relevant to the audience.
This stimulated an engaged discussion among participants at the event who explored the issue of more practice-oriented and tailored-made provision, of evaluating language skills on the base of performance and not formal qualifications, and of raising awareness of the role of languages in companies (also of migrants’ languages) in the context of diversity management.
If you want to practise your Basque, read about the event on the website of Euskara plus. To check if you have understood correctly, have a look at the translation into English and if you have time, watch the video with an interview with Matilde Grünhage-Monetti (in English with Basque subtitles)
If you are interested in the event’s other inputs and outcomes, look for the documentation in Basque and Castillian under
There is a lot of talk about plurilingualism, we practise it!
The LfW team thanks the organisers of the workshop who hosted the LfW at their own expense!