Generally speaking, language is to culture what a key is to a door: It allows us to access and explore a new space. A space of cultures and ideas, but above all a space occupied by fellow human beings. Learning foreign languages brings us into contact with others, it allows us to understand them better and enables us to live and work with them.
German, in particular, is a language of opportunities: Speaking German significantly improves the employability of Irish people looking for a job in a multilingual environment in Ireland where companies are in search of staff equally qualified in professional skills and foreign languages. A good knowledge of German also offers an easy access to the German-speaking labour markets in Europe which are confronted with a severe demographic problem and subsequently a lack of skilled workers.
For this reason the German Embassy and the Goethe-Institut Irland in Dublin in conjunction with the Austrian and Swiss Embassies initiated a marketing campaign aiming at fostering the learning of German throughout Ireland. The main partners are the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Studies Association in Ireland (GSAI), the Business German in Ireland Working Group (BuGI), the Association of German Teachers in Ireland (GDI) and a number of Irish institutions working in the field of secondary and third level education. Many Irish education and business institutions have expressed their support.
The campaign will engage with a broad spectrum of the Irish population - pupils, students, parents, school principals, business people and policymakers. The initiative wants to highlight that German is an important language worth learning.
Following a successful media campaign in February and March this year, negotiations are under way with Irish, German and multinational companies based in Ireland on an internship programme for German language learners on secondary and third level. The idea is to find companies that are willing to offer short term work placements for potential employees during the summer, autumn or spring break. From October 2013 a road show (“Deutschmobil”) will follow.
For more information, you can consult the German Connects' website.