Guidance Counsellors

Foreign-language skills will be key to the success of many Irish businesses in the coming years. As non-English speaking countries take a bigger and bigger slice of the global economy and Ireland becomes more diverse, languages will give students a distinct advantage. Language learners tend to be better listeners, better able to juggle competing priorities and are more sensitive to diversity.

Here are a few resources to help guide students towards the best language for them:

Find out more about different languages

Hear real life stories of people who use languages in work everyday

Listen to the Industry Experts

Gradireland Languages Careers Booklet – click here 

Check out our Careers Portal Online Database of Third Level Language Courses

Come to the #ThinkLanguages Event for TY Students

Introduce a School Exchange to bring the language to life

The Mobility Guidance Counselling Module

With a growing number of students going abroad to study , either as part of an Erasmus+ exchange or for the entire duration of their degree, the Mobility Guidance Counselling module was designed to provide guidance counsellors with the skills they need to support students in their quest to study, work or volunteer abroad. See here for more information

For further information and career guidance resources see

Tomorrow’s markets

As China closes in on replacing the United States as the world’s largest economy and developing countries take over as the drivers of global growth, Irish companies are going to have to get used to a world less dominated by the English language.

Much of our future export growth is expected to come from faster-growing non-English speaking countries, like China, Brazil, Russia and Latin America, where the level of language skills is often lower than in traditional EU markets.

Better language skills could help Irish exporters to avoid “unquantifiable missed opportunities,” Ireland’s largest business group IBEC has said. And services exports, which require significantly more language skills than goods exports, are growing as a proportion of Irish exports.

The good news is that hundreds of thousands of migrants who have made Ireland home in recent decades have brought rich language skills.

Over 500,000 people in Ireland speak a language other than English at home, according to the latest census. Over 30,000 people in Ireland speak Spanish at home and over 20,000 speak Portuguese, according to census data. Over 17,000 speak Chinese while 16,000 speak Arabic.


After Britain leaves the European Union, our non-English speaking EU neighbours will also become even more important to Ireland, raising the demand for foreign-language skills.

An Irish government report on future skills requirements in the wake of Brexit said that Ireland would need to build up a multi-lingual workforce for trade in an increasingly globalised marketplace. We will also need to build up a cadre of international sale professionals as to enhance our international customer service skills.

Deep understanding

Recent EU research indicates companies can achieve higher export sales growth by implementing a foreign language development strategy to boost linguistic and cultural awareness throughout a firm. That strategy might include some native-English speaking professionals with strong language skills, some native speakers and a programme to boost understanding at every level of the firm.

Employing someone with language and cultural knowledge of a potential market can start a conversation of an expansion that might not have otherwise been contemplated.

Even a little knowledge of a client’s language – and a little knowledge of their culture – can be the difference between success and failure in an increasingly diverse world.

Significant buy-in is required if Irish businesses are to be competitive in the coming years. Ireland was ranked 44th for language skills that meet the needs of enterprise, in 2017 by the Institute for Management Development.

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Working with languages

Guidance counsellor resources – click here