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Helping migrants to show the value of their languages to others
Start date: Nov 1, 2009,

Project aim:The proposed project aims to make the linguistic and communicative competences of migrants in Europe visible, thus making their linguistic resources accessible for the migrants themselves, for further education and for the labour market.One major tool to achieve this aim will be materials to extend and adapted the existing versions of the European Language Portfolio (ELP). Rationale: In existing ELPs native language experience (L1) or other languages learned in the countries of origin of migrants coming from outside Europe are not sufficiently covered. Usually, only the information whether someone speaks/reads/writes or understands a language is asked for. On the one hand, we are faced with a situation in all European countries, in which migrants quite often are not able to read or write in all of their L1 language/s. They quite often have more than one L1 or near L1 language in the first place. Furthermore some migrants have a very low school education whereas very few have a sufficient school education.On the other hand, a significant amount of business is lost due to not acknowledging potential language skills of migrant employees. We can see this from a number of studies carried out in the last year on a European level: According to an ECML project (Valeur) an estimated 400 languages are spoken in Europe, the vast majority of which are not covered by existing ELPs. For example, a study carried out by CILT (ELAN 2006) states that 22% of European industries rely on translators and interpreters to cope with foreign languages to cover their high demand for languages such as Arabic, for example. Austrian Sociologists carried out research about employability criteria for migrants (2005) and arrived amongst other findings, to the conclusion that a high potential for employability of migrants with good L1 competence in so called interface jobs, i.e. jobs that constitute the link between the Austrian companies and their partners on other countries, is lost. Products: Primarily we intend to develop tools to help migrants to understand and assess the value of their languages and to be able to present this value to others, especially prospective employers. This tool should consist of a variety of components:Tools for migrants mainly for use in language courses and material for use in counselling contexts: • additions to the already existing model of the ELPs in several migrant languages (“checklists”)• additions to the existing Language passport/EuroPass or f (Language Passport Supplement = LPS) in the languages of the partnership• info fyler for migrants to explain the materials in several migrant languagesGuide for teachers/councillors in the languages of the partnership serving• teachers for use in classrooms• teacher trainers for use in teacher education contexts and• councillors for use in (individual) counselling settings with migrantsThe materials developed will be generally available on the project web-site and disseminated European wide.Further a Multiplier Training concept will be developed and tested.Dissemination strategy involves the development of a comprehensive website and of a general project flyer.Literature:CILT (2006) ELAN: Effects on the European Economy of Shortages of Foreign Language Skills in Enterprise. LondonECML (end) (2007) Valoriser toutes les languages en Europe. GrazMandl, Irene / Dorr, Andrea / Steiner, Roald / Elvin, Gundula / Gruber, Elke / Egger-Subotitsch, Andrea / Kreiml, Thomas: Endogenes Arbeitskräftepotenzial für die Internationalisierung Wiener Unternehmen. Einsatz von Personen mit ost- und südosteuropäischem Migrationshintergrund für grenzüberschreitende Aktivitäten. Endbericht, Wien 2005.

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