British business leaders believe speaking Mandarin Chinese will give students a career boost

More than three in four British business leaders believe speaking Mandarin will give school leavers a career advantage. Of over 1,000 senior business decision makers questioned by YouGov for the Mandarin Excellence Programme, more than three quarters of respondents said that speaking a high level of Mandarin would be beneficial to school pupils in their future careers.

Commissioned by the Mandarin Excellence Programme, the new survey aims to understand more about the language needs of British businesses, with a particular focus on Mandarin.

The survey also found that while 69 per cent of business leaders felt that Mandarin Chinese skills, particularly speaking, would be important for British business and the economy in future, 66 per cent said that it was currently difficult to recruit fluent speakers from within the UK workforce.

Speaking on these finds Minister for School Standards, Nick Gibb said, “Education standards are rising, with 1.9 million more children in good or outstanding schools than in 2010 but we must do more to ensure our education system is fit for the future demands of a modern economy. This research shows that young people fluent in Mandarin will be at a significant advantage when competing for jobs with their peers from around the world. That is why we introduced the Mandarin Excellence Programme, which is on track to have 5,000 pupils fluent in Mandarin by 2020. The enthusiasm and energy that both pupils and teachers are committing to this programme is inspiring, and will help Britain to compete in an increasingly global economy.

Katharine Carruthers, Director of the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute, added “Mandarin Excellence Programme pupils and their parents should be encouraged by this and employers can feel reassured that there are young people coming through the school system who can meet business needs when it comes to communicating with one of the UK’s largest trading partners.

Mark Herbert, Head of Schools Programmes at the British Council said of the YouGov findings “Everyone in the UK who learns some Mandarin builds another link between us and China, building greater mutual understanding and trust between our countries – the absolute bedrock of business, trade and prosperity for both nations in the future.”

The Mandarin Excellence Programme is a Department for Education funded programme which is being delivered by the UCL Institute of Education in partnership with the British Council. State schools in England can apply to join the programme from September 2018 with funding available to support successful delivery. Find out more here.