HC Deb 17 June 1965 vol 714 cc861-2
1. Mr. Norwood

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to institute special teaching of languages for staffs of firms who are engaged in exporting.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Redhead)

My right hon. Friend attaches great importance to the provision of language courses to meet the needs of industry and he is in close consultation with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Education and Science and the Secretary of State for Scotland. They are encouraging the provision of courses at technical colleges and colleges of commerce designed to enable industrial and commercial staffs to become fluent quickly in the oral use of foreign languages. Courses of longer duration are also widely available.

Mr. Norwood

I thank my hon. Friend for that Answer. He is aware, as we all are aware, of the barrier sometimes presented to exports from this country by the fact that our people have taken a somewhat insular attitude to the learning of foreign languages. I am sure that his Answer will give satisfaction to many people in business in that these courses will be more and more widely available.

Mr. Peter Emery

The hon. Gentleman no doubt realises that we are glad that someone has gathered the scattered remnants of the Government here by 2.30. Does he realise that, at the Woolwich Technical College, there is a degree course which specialises and has a specific side for languages? Would he look into encouraging a greater use of these courses, which are, at the moment, under-subscribed?

Mr. Redhead

I am not aware of the details of the specific case to which the hon. Member refers, but, in view of his observations, I should be very happy to look into it.