Holborn Training, which offers Pitman secretarial courses under franchise from its London and Manchester locations, has seen an increase in the numbers of people wanting to train as bi-lingual secretaries.
However, it is not native English people making the enquiries, but Russians, Poles and Czechs who are working in their mother tongues in the UK and need to develop their English language skills. Conversely, there has been a decline in the demand for bi-lingual secretaries who can speak more traditional languages, such as French and German.
According to college Principal Shilpa Wymer, there is a noticeable increase in demand for secretarial training from UK-based foreign firms.
She said: “I think it is because these companies have such a professional and international outlook that they want to make sure their secretaries are the very best. That’s why they’re investing in our ESOL course for many and some are putting their secretaries through our secretarial and Executive PA diploma programmes of which ESOL can be a module, to ensure their people are at the top of their professions. The trend is definitely for people from overseas visiting us to develop their language skills.”
Shilpa believes that part of the reason for this is that Pitman is such a well-respected name. She continued: “After all, Pitman is recognised as the oldest and most respected name in secretarial training so it’s only natural that they would choose us. And our ESOL course results in a certificate from Cambridge University.”
Student Magdalena Kichov added: “I work as a secretary for a large Russian energy company and transferred here in April. It quickly became apparent that I needed to take my business English skills to another level but I didn’t have time to study. That’s when I found out about the Pitman Training ESOL Business English course which I can study in the evenings or on Saturdays. You can either do it online or at one of their training centres.”
The ESOL course offered by Pitman Training includes reading, writing, comprehension, listening and speaking, all with a business slant. The programme can be started at any time and is offered online or with attendance. For those who prefer to attend a centre, students attend on a “drop-in” basis, so if attendance cannot be regular, there is no barrier to gaining a qualification. In this case the awarding body is Cambridge University.