May 10, 2018

Knowing English is not enough in today’s professional world

Nowadays, foreign investors in Lithuania are looking for professionals who speak other languages apart from English. Demand for specialists who speak Norwegian, Swedish or other languages is constantly increasing and companies are ready to invest not only in their employee training, but are willing to contribute to the development of student competences as well. 
 
Vilnius Gediminas Technical University (VGTU) is working with USA-based company “Cognizant Technology Solutions Lithuania”, one of the world’s leading professional services companies, to improve quality of studies in Lithuania, and to provide opportunity for students to gain relevant skills and knowledge.
 
Priority to Scandinavian languages
 
One of the important aspects of the agreement between “Cognizant Technology Solutions Lithuania” and VGTU – is a Norwegian language course designed by the company. This course is offered to finance engineering, economics engineering and business logistics students at VGTU. The course started this semester and surprised everyone with immense demand: only the most motivated students were selected for the course.
 
“We recognize that many highly skilled employees are educated in Lithuania. Most of them speak fluent English, but we have demand for fluency in other languages as well. Our centre in Lithuania provides services mostly to Nordic countries. So, it is important that professionals also know one of the Scandinavian languages.  We know that demand for such specialists is very high and supply is very limited, which prompted us to become more closely involved in the language education process of our potential employees, and introduce the new Norwegian language course with VGTU,” said Kaushik Sarkar, the Head of Nordics and Baltics in Cognizant.
 
According to K. Sarkar, socially responsible activities are very important to the company across the world. One of the areas of such activities – development of future talent.
 
The increasing demand and significance of learning languages is also emphasised by the foreign investment promotion agency “Invest Lithuania”.
 
“Nowadays, fluent English does not surprise anyone. Most often it is compulsory for jobs at international companies. Meanwhile, any additional languages serve as the key to more opportunities. Foreign direct investment companies in Lithuania often look for employees who speak the languages of their target markets.  At the moment, it’s mostly Scandinavian languages. The demand for other European languages is rising, and increasing number of companies start looking for staff who speak Chinese, Japanese or Arabic,” said Mantas Katinas, Managing Director of Invest Lithuania.
 
Business contributes to the development of students’ skills
 
According to Vilnius Gediminas Technical University’s (VGTU) Vice-Rector for Strategic Partnerships Asta Radzevičienė, today university-business partnerships cover many aspects: from strengthening the potential of both parties by providing mutual trainings, creating study programmes or training courses for professionals, to joint research and experiments, testing of technologies, commercialisation of intellectual property, support for start-ups, and other joint initiatives.
 
“The essence of university-business partnership is complementarity. We have different resources, and, having agreed on mutually beneficial goal, we can use the different knowledge pools to create win-win cooperation solutions. We see that business invests in future talent before they start working for the specific company; companies share their vision on the most important skills, while their future employees are still at the university,” said A. Radzevičienė.
 
In opinion of VGTU’s Vice-Rector for Strategic Partnerships, skillset desired by companies and serving as top career accelerator is the combination of IT and management skills, and languages. “Unfortunately, current model of higher education and the structure of study programmes require students to choose one dominating track, while other knowledge areas are set aside. With the help of companies, we try to convince students that they should invest in additional skills now to gain a greater return in the future,” said A. Radzevičienė.