FOREIGN LANGUAGES AND EMPLOYABILITY: A COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP. CASE STUDY IN THE REGION OF VISEU (PORTUGAL)
The challenges of today's societies as regards employability and the reality of the world of work are increasingly important and diversified. One of the main purposes of higher education is to prepare students to face this complexity, perceiving and adapting quickly to companies’ current situations.
From this perspective, the evaluation of the impact of FL (foreign languages) mastery in the various business sectors becomes fundamental. It implies to reorient the work with students during the training course and to make future professionals aware of the importance of acquiring communicative skills in FL, thus being able to respond effectively to the demands of job offers. The close connection between higher education institutions and the business world also allows for a better perception on the part of companies themselves concerning the need to (re)think their policy in terms of FL.
Within this line of reasoning, the project "Foreign languages and employability" (FLE), that the present article intends to present, began in January 2017, at the Polytechnic Institute of Viseu (IPV), Portugal. It focuses on bringing the local business community closer, in order to realize their needs regarding FL. The aim is to strengthen the professional aspects of training, with a view to improving graduates’ employability and achieving successful professional development. Data collection is done by analysing job offers, responses to online surveys and semi-structured interviews. The project includes representatives from the various IPV integrated schools (Agrarian, Education, Health, Technology and Management), who exert their influences in diversified sectors.