To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many staff in his Department took second language training in each of the last five years; and what the five languages in which such training was most frequently undertaken were.
Requirements for language training are assessed by each overseas office and based upon business priorities. As such the Department for International Development (DFID) does not hold central records on language training but according to our main external language training provider 130 staff have received training in the last 18 months. This is equivalent to 35 per cent. of home civil service staff posted overseas at any given time. The top five languages in which training was most frequently undertaken were—French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Russian.