We often underestimate the joy of learning a new language, the cognitive benefits and the cultural insight it provides and the sheer exhilaration we experience when we are understood! Acquiring a second language helps your memory, cognitive ability and your brain health. Learning languages makes people smarter and academics agree this statement has a sound scientific basis.* The language we speak represents the world in a certain way. But different languages represent the world differently and those differences strengthen cognitive ability.
At Business in the Community Ireland we embrace the academic enrichment opportunities that multilingual classrooms provide. In collaboration with Post-Primary Languages Ireland, BITCI recently hosted two webinars to over 3000 students in 150 schools, both at Primary and Post-Primary level. These ‘Time 4 Languages’ Webinars featured key industry speakers, Language Teachers and 3rd Level language students. The objective of the Webinars was to encourage students to choose languages at post-Primary and 3rd Level by giving an insight into why language skills are so useful and valuable in jobs, careers and in one’s personal life.
This year, we are delighted to welcome our first ever ‘as Gaelige’ programme and Irish language version of our World of Work programme. Optum Ireland Services Limited and Gaelscoil Chu Uladh, Co. Donegal are the first to deliver Saothar an tSaoil (World of Work) through the medium of Irish.
CEO, Optum Ireland, Padraig Monaghan said:
“Optum Ireland is delighted to partner with Gairmscoil Chú Uladh and support this ‘Business in the Community’ initiative. As a major employer in the Northwest, our aim is to engage in a meaningful way with the community, and indeed the Gaeltacht community, and provide valuable insights into the world of work and pathways into a diverse range of careers. Our Optum team based in Letterkenny, will be the first in Ireland to deliver the programme through Irish which will complement the students’ immersion education and highlight the relevance of the language in a global corporate setting.”
By Alison Norman and Pamela Kearney, BITCI
*Bassetti, B. and Cook, V. (2011) Language and cognition: The second language user.