Languages and Employability – Dream Jobs

We’re organising an event for our Year 3 and 4 students on 6 November to give them a chance to meet some of our recent graduates and to talk with them about what they’ve gone on to do with their degrees in French. From teaching to tourism and travel, from proofreading and translation to journalism, our graduates end up in a range of different roles, working across the UK and well beyond.

Events like the one in November are also a good excuse for me to get back in touch with graduates from the past few years and to find out what they’ve been up to… and to gently encourage them to think about sending me a blog entry about their life since graduation… Paul Addison, who graduated in 2011 with BA (Hons) in French and Spanish, is one such former student who has very kindly written an account of the directions his language studies have taken him in. (If you happen to be a former student reading this, do feel free to get back in touch!):

“After graduating university with an honours degree in French and Spanish, I found myself in a similar position to most fresh faced graduates. I had a rough idea of where I wanted to go with my career and I knew I was looking for a role where I could utilise the languages that I’d worked hard to master over four years. I also wanted to work for an international business where I could not only utilise my languages but also my understanding of cultural and socio-economic differences across the world. Having graduated at the height of the recession in 2011, I was aware that my career trajectory wouldn’t be as clear cut as I would have hoped and like most people graduating at that time I have held a variety of positions.

After graduating I moved to Glasgow with my partner and secured a temporary role with an energy sales company. Although the role didn’t tick many of the boxes I had in mind for my career, I was able to build my business development skills which are essential for many companies in central Scotland where sales jobs are aplenty. After completing a number of temporary assignments in a sales capacity, I moved in to a role with a Recruitment Agency where I was responsible for both business development and candidate resourcing for a number of banks and financial services firms across Glasgow. I was then approached by a Welfare to Work company that focused on assisting unemployed individuals in to long term work and I took the job in the knowledge that I would be able to further my understanding of recruitment processes from a candidate’s perspective and I was able to work with non-English speaking refugees and asylum seekers and use some of the skills I developed at university.

I am about to move down to London to work with an worldwide professional services firm as an International Recruitment Coordinator where I will have the opportunity to work with professionals from across the world and utilise my languages on a daily basis. The role will involve some international travel as well as the opportunity ingrain myself in to one of the UK’s most dynamic industries where there are a myriad of opportunities on offer. It’s certainly similar to the “dream job” I had in mind when I was coming to the end of the studies and I am excited about using my degree to its full potential.

Like most people studying languages I had flirted with the idea of working for the European Union as a translator or travelling abroad to teach English and perhaps if I had been serious about these options I wouldn’t have such a patchwork of work experience. However, languages are sought after amongst some of the country’s largest private sector organisations and it has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in helping me up the career ladder so far. There are a variety of companies that will open their doors to people with a degree in languages and I have worked in sales, outsourced recruitment and welfare to work and I am now going to work in professional services. Without the flexibility and opportunities that my degree at Stirling gave me, I am certain that I wouldn’t have been able to climb the career ladder at such a pace.”

Good luck to Paul and partner for the future!