The importance of English language skills

Issue 7, November 2008.

This is a phrase we are all accustomed to hearing at cafes, company and hotel receptions desks throughout the world. We let out a sigh of relief when we find ourselves in foreign destinations and our interlocutors can communicate in English, the undisputed international language of today.

Lviv today is steadily building up the reputation of a city known for its cafés neatly nestled along its narrow streets, quaint restaurants, distinctive cultural attractions and unique historical landmarks. It is truly a place where tourism is turning into a force driving the local economy forward thanks to its proximity to the EU zone and uniquely European historical past.

Lviv is also making strides in the area of economic development. The trend throughout the 1990s and first decade of the 21st century of capital flocking to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, is slowly but surely experiencing a reversal. Lviv has now effectively become the most major Ukrainian city bordering the EU. This favorable geographic positioning has turned Western Ukraine into a region logically placed for investment and its primary city, Lviv, is benefiting from bilateral trade with the EU and reaping the benefits of FDI in the areas of agriculture, logistics and warehousing,  IT, and the banking services sphere, just to name a few.

Without a doubt, the entire western Ukrainian region has a very promising future to look forward to, but is it really as well-prepared to take advantage of these bourgeoning opportunities when it boils down to doing business “European style”?  

The EU is a multi-lingual supranational state and its universal language of business and commerce is English.  If to focus on Lviv and Western Ukraine within this broader context, surely most non-native Lvivians can recall an instance where communication whether for business or pleasure in the English language was absolutely critical, but seriously lacking and ultimately led to severed communication lines and poor overall communication.

The real message being delivered is that these crippled communication exchanges are not simple unpleasantries and reasons for anxiety, they translate into the real dollars and cents of lost business and opportunities for Lviv’s business community. If Ukraine wants to become a serious contender on the European business arena it cannot do so through mere declarations of intent, definitive action is required. Lviv, as a perspective region, must change the way it looks at doing business and this means first and foremost, being able to do it in English.

Recent research carried out by our Company specialists has shown that 80% of the individuals we polled who had gone through formal language training in Lviv felt that their oral skills were inadequate, while 90% of them went on to say that they were interested in taking classes to improve oral communication as they believed they could not carry on conversations in English with their business colleagues and Partners at the level they felt was necessary, despite the classes they had taken. 

If to look at the importance of the English language in Lviv from the perspective of recruitment we, as a Company which provides recruitment services to international companies with operations in Ukraine, can add that a strong command of the English language is a prerequisite for all candidates putting in their applications for our positions. Of all the vacancies we receive from our Clients, 70% of them require fluent English. Unfortunately, many of the individuals who apply for our job postings cannot be seriously considered because our Clients require strong English language skills.  This means lost job opportunities for otherwise highly qualified Candidates. 

This is where Synergy Consulting comes into the picture.  We offer a unique product on the Lviv language training market, one which other similar profile companies simply cannot compete with. Specifically, our language training programs concentrate of developing spoken English skills. The language trainers we work with are native English speakers who also have solid business experience, hold internationally recognized ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching certificates and most importantly also have fluent verbal and written Ukrainian language skills.

If companies of the western Ukrainian region and its capital, Lviv, want to bridge the language divide, improve communication lines with Partners, colleagues and Clients, tap into other markets and business opportunities through language study, Synergy Consulting is the company which can deliver the right English language training program using tested and proven techniques.

If you are interested in learning more about the corporate and individual courses available through Synergy Consulting, please contact us. We will be happy to meet with you and share the details of our English language training programs. Please also feel free to visit our site to learn more about the types of courses we offer.

Written by: Artem Haivoronsky, Director, Synergy Consulting