The cultural awareness and language training offered by Communicaid has given our trainees going on international secondment the key knowledge and skills that make their settling into a new country that little bit less daunting!Katherine Elam, Graduate Recruitment and Development Officer, Ashurst
Each year, Ashurst recruits approximately 55 graduates for training contracts, and many, as part of their two-year traineeship, will undertake a six month seat in an overseas office. Communicaid has been providing intensive language training for assignees going to Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan. Assignees for Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo receive culture awareness training prior to their departure.
Ashurst LLP is an elite law firm with over 400 partners and 1,700 lawyers operating from 25 offices in 14 countries. Ashurst advises corporates, financial institutions and governments, with core businesses in corporate, finance, energy, resources and infrastructure.
To raise employees’ existing high level language skills to an operational level and adapt their style and register to working in a legal environment
To provide employees with a more in-depth understanding of the target culture and working styles
To prepare employees for the practicalities of living overseas and alleviate any concerns they may have about their new environment
The main challenges were seen as:
Designing a consistent training approach with content and materials tailored to the employees’ existing skills and experience
Finding an appropriate balance between language and cultural awareness for employees going to non-European offices
Delivering a succinct yet high impact training programme to accommodate the employees’ busy schedules prior to their assignment
Working closely with Ashurst’s Graduate Recruitment & Development Team, Communicaid agreed on two separate solutions, depending on the destination of the employee. Most assignees relocating to Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan already had a good foundation in the local language and needed to boost their business and specialist legal language. They often had experience living in-country during university and so their challenges were mostly linguistic rather than cultural.
Assignees relocating to Tokyo, Dubai, and Singapore were most often complete beginners in the language and had little experience of the target country. Rather than trying to master Japanese or Arabic from scratch, Communicaid recommended that these employees would benefit from a cultural awareness training session encompassing the basic greetings and phrases to aid relationship building.
Three-day intensive language skills training for the Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan assignees
Half-day cultural awareness training including basic language skills for Dubai, Singapore and Tokyo assignees
Flexible language training available on the ground in the target city if they were unable to complete their three days’ training prior to their departure
Feedback on all programmes is consistently positive with up to 16 delegates trained annually. Due to the intensive preparation prior to their assignment, employees have been able to hit the ground running on arrival. Several employees have found their assignment so positive that they have extended their stay.
“The cultural awareness and language training offered by Communicaid has given our trainees going on international secondment the key knowledge and skills that make their settling into a new country that little bit less daunting! All courses have always followed careful discussion with each individual about their level of language ability/experience of a country and are perfectly tailored to ensure each trainee really gets the most from the training offered.” Katherine Elam, Graduate Recruitment and Development Officer, Ashurst