Left to right are pupils Emma Polsom, Holly Cunningham, Kayleigh Innes, and Kennedy Mcleish.

More than 200 pupils from nine Forth Valley high schools attended an event designed to inspire them to study a foreign language to national qualification level.

Organised by Falkirk Council’s Children’s Services, the Languages for Business Symposium took place on Wednesday, January 16th, in the Falkirk Stadium.

Four S3 pupils from Graeme High School opened the event, highlighting the benefits speaking a second language can bring, before keynote speaker, Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering, explained how being fluent in French helped catapult his career.

Pupils then attended workshops led by business people who use foreign languages on a daily basis to help them recruit for a blue chip company, run a translation business with a global footprint, and organise foreign language immersion courses for teachers.

A range of companies, organisations, and visitor attractions also held stands and spoke to pupils about the practical benefits speaking a second language can bring, including: The Helix, the British Council, Stirling University, and Blackness Castle.

Councillor Adanna McCue, spokesperson for Education, Falkirk Council, said: “The event showcased how learning a second language can open doors to pupils once they leave school, providing them with opportunities to advance their careers in ways they may not have thought about.”

On arrival, pupils were asked whether they would take on a second language in the next academic year. They were asked the same question following the event, which resulted in a 21% increase in the number who said yes.