2020 – 27th Annual Conference, Belgrade

Speakers, Presentations & Workshops

Barry Tomalin

Language and Employability: Gateway to Career Success

In a globalising economy where foreign companies are investing in and controlling more and more areas of national business, research in European countries has demonstrated how the teaching of language, particularly the English language, as part of TVET (Technical and Vocational Education) can contribute to reducing youth unemployment by easing access to international companies and as a key factor in promotion. Summarising research in Finland, Germany, the Middle East, Malaysia and Africa the discussion explores options and challenges for policy makers and practitioners, including curriculum design, materials, teacher training, classroom methodology and assessment.  The discussion will review the work of international agencies such as UNESCO-UNEVOC and governmental organisations such as the British Council and the Goethe Institut in promoting language training for young people. It will make positive suggestions as to the role of ICC-Languages in supporting language training in TVET in Europe and beyond, both in consultancy and teacher training. Based on a research project carried out by Michael Carrier, Barry Tomalin and Rob Williams, it is clear that TVET is a major imperative for inculcating language and communication skills in upper secondary and post-secondary education to facilitate young people’s access to employability, thus reducing national unemployment figures and allowing learners to build the skills they need for a successful international career. The presentation will be followed by open discussion to share experience from different countries represented at the conference.


Barry Tomalin is an international business consultant and university lecturer and writer who specialises in international communication and cultures. He is a board member of ICC – Languages, Joint Managing Editor of Training Language and Culture (published with RUDN Peoples Friendship University of Russia) and Editor of the ICC Journal. Barry teaches at the London Business School, Birkbeck College, University of London and Glasgow Caledonian University London and is Director of the three-day intensive Business Cultural Trainers Certificate, run at International House London. He is also a former producer and broadcaster in the BBC World Service English Language Teaching Service. This presentation followed by discussion is based on a research project into language and employability carried out by himself, Michael Carrier and Rob Williams in 2019-2020.

Barry is the author of several books, including ‘World Business Cultures- a Handbook”, “Cross-Cultural Communication, Theory and Practice”, “Key Business Skills” and monographs on Germany, Italy and France. He has worked in over 60 countries worldwide and is a winner of the ESU Duke of Edinburgh Award for his key teacher training books, “Cultural Awareness” and “Film”.