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Civil Servants: Languages

House of Lords written question – answered on 3rd November 2014.

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Photo of Baroness Coussins Baroness Coussins Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many diplomatic staff and civil servants from each department or government agency have received or are receiving language training at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Language School.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Since the Language Centre opened on 19th September 2013 a total of 45 different languages have been studied there either full or part-time by 813 students. Of those students, 779 are Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff and 34 are from other government departments (OGDs) (including staff from the following departments: Ministry of Defence, Cabinet Office, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, Home Office, Ministry of Justice, UK Trade and Investment, the Department for International Development, HM Revenue and Customs, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and the House of Commons). An additional 60 FCO staff have trained at the Institut Francais. Staff across the Civil Service can also access the FCO Language Centre library to continue to develop their own language skills outside formal study and 58 OGD staff have taken advantage of this offer so far.

It is important to note that when more appropriate, staff from OGDs also receive language training outside of the FCO Language Centre through use of the Civil Service-wide contract with Language Services Direct (the company that run the FCO Language Centre) or at the Institut Francais if French is required. Since September 2014, 113 OGD students have received language training on their own premises via the FCO contract.

The table below provides a breakdown of the languages that have been taught at the FCO Language Centre :

Albanian 2

Arabic 186

Azeri 1

Bosnian 1

Bulgarian 3

Burmese 1

Cambodian 1

Czech 1

Danish 2

Dari 5

Dutch 5

Farsi 33

Finnish 1

French 14

Georgian 1

German 40

Greek 4

Hebrew 1

Hindi 20

Indonesian 4

Italian 23

Japanese 33

Korean 8

Macedonian 1

Mandarin 93

Norwegian 1

Pashto 5

Polish 3

Portuguese 47

Romanian 3

Russian 84

Serbian 3

Sinhalese 1

Slovak 1

Slovene 1

Spanish 153

Swedish 3

Tajik 1

Thai 2

Tigrinya 1

Turkish 11

Turkmen 1

Urdu 4

Uzbek 2

Vietnamese 2

Total 813

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