You’re unable to turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the high levels of unemployment and general doom that is faced by many current graduates.

The competition for jobs is harder than ever and the need to have additional skills to keep you ahead of the game is vital. We are also continuing to see a change in how we work, with many of us entering careers within a much more international work environment, it is now normal to work in an organisation that has people from a variety of countries and cultures.

In addition to this, with countries such a China leading the way in economic progression, you could be lead to believe that it is now more important than ever  to consider boosting your employability by picking up additional language skills and work experience overseas.

However, last year’s Guardian Live Q&A entitled ‘Career options for foreign language speakers’  discovered that many foreign language graduates found that they were not as desirable as they initially thought they would be. One Guardian user was quoted saying “It’s something of a relief to hear that other people who graduated in foreign languages are struggling. I studied Chinese as a mature student and am sick to death of people being impressed…I’m stuck doing a rubbish job while everyone tells me that China is the future and I could be earning loads“.

So what is the truth, and do additional language skills help to boost your employability? In order to answer these questions The Guardian will be hosting a Live Q&A between 1pm and 3pm on Thursday 29th March entitled ‘Will language skills help you stand out in the job market?’  If you are currently learning a language as part of your degree and are worried about where this could take you, or want to talk about your first-hand experience of gaining employment using your language skills, head over to the Guardian website to find out more about how your additional languages skills could help to open doors in the job market.

http://careers.guardian.co.uk/language-skills-job-market

The Q&A panel members will include:

Catherine Whitaker is language learning publishing director at Collins. Catherine works at Collins Language, which has been making dictionaries since 1819 and also provides a range of language learning products and services.

Joe Hallwood is founder of Tefl EnglandTefl Scotland and Guardian Careers‘ resident Tefl expert. Joe has worked in Tefl for many years, including time as a teacher abroad and in the UK, and now advises people on Tefl careers both in the UK and abroad.

Elizabeth Dickson is admissions officer for the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI), a professional association of practising translators and interpreters. Elizabeth graduated in 2006 with an MA in languages (interpreting and translating) French and German.

Sarah Williams graduated in 2009 and has worked in marketing and media production. She recently wrote about her experience of the Leonardo Da Vinci Programme in Bordeaux for Guardian Careers.

Lynsey Devon is a travel PR professional who has been working in the travel industry for more than 20 years.

Mike Kelly is professor of French at the University of Southampton and director of LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies. He directs the Routes into Languages programme, which works with schools to increase the uptake of languages and highlight the career opportunities for graduates with languages.

Farzana Baduel established Curzon PR in 2009. Farzana is the director of three companies and has a wide range of international clients.

Kevin Thompson is the senior careers adviser at the University of Reading. He provides careers support to a range of students and graduates at the university, including those studying modern foreign languages.

Sylke Riester is managing director of Rosetta Stone. A native Dutch speaker, Sylke speaks German as well as English. She is learning Swedish with Rosetta Stone.

Veronica McGuinness works for Euro London Appointments, and has supplied both temporary and permanent multilingual candidates across a wide spectrum of industries. Veronica has a degree in modern languages and has lived, studied and worked in both France and Spain.

There will also be two representatives of the British CouncilJude Wood works at the British Council as the marketing manager for theErasmus programme, and Vicky Gough is a schools adviser.


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