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UK Foreign Office to Double Number of Linguists

Posted by European Schoolbooks Ltd, on 29 January 2019. Comments: 0

Jeremy Hunt, the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has announced what he describes as the ‘biggest expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network for a generation’.

He committed to a strengthening of skills and expertise, including doubling the number of British diplomats who speak a foreign language. His aim is that within the next 10 years 1,000 British diplomats will speak a language of the country in which they serve. This will result in almost half of the UK’s overseas postings being staffed by linguists.

To assist in this enterprise, the Foreign Office Language School will increase the number of languages that it teaches from 50 to 70.

His plans include opening new High Commissions and Embassies, employing more staff at both the Foreign Office in London and in embassies around the world, and sending more diplomats overseas.

Mr Hunt also plans to ‘broaden the pool of talent’, including employing people from outside the civil service, especially from the world of business. Said Mr Hunt: ‘I am sure there are experienced, multi-lingual businesspeople who would welcome the chance to enter the service of their country at this critical time.’

Mr Hunt’s full speech can be read on the website.


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