Exporters: Foreign Language Skills

House of Lords written question – answered on 18th June 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Coussins Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider introducing financial incentives for non-exporting businesses that train existing staff to export, in line with the recommendations of the British Chambers of Commerce report Exporting is good for Britain but knowledge gaps and language skills hold back exporters, published on 10 June .

Photo of Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the Government Department responsible for providing UK-based companies with the support they need to succeed in the global economy, has a number of services aimed at preparing businesses for exporting. These include schemes such as Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth aimed at new exporters and more experienced exporting Small and Medium Sized Enterprises’ (SMEs), providing advice, guidance and support to help new to export businesses. These schemes provide an assessment of exporting capability, and include face to face training from export professionals.

With the additional funding made available in last year’s autumn statement, UKTI will provide export voucher funding for Passport and Gateway companies which companies can choose to spend on a variety of export services. That could include language training or wider training needs, as well as other services offered by UKTI and external suppliers.

Separately, The House of Lords Committee on SME Exports, Roads to Success: SME Exports, recommended that UKTI should promote the benefits of addressing the language issue and advise on the consequences if it is ignored as part of our communications strategy with SMEs. UKTI agreed with the Committee’s analysis and will publish next week an updated publication, “Improving your business communications. Overcoming language and cultural barriers in business: A guide for exporters”.

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