News - June 26, 2015

English language course for employees

Albert Sikkema

In the next three years, all employees of Wageningen UR can follow a course to improve their level of English.‘The employer pays the course and provides time’, says Astrid van den Heuvel, policy employee Internationalisation.

In the new strategic plan the Executive Board indicates that English should become the leading language at Wageningen UR. As a result, the staff should have a decent knowledge of the language. They should be able, for instance, to serve international students or foreign customers. This involves English speaking, reading and writing skills.

Van den Heuvel first wants to inquire when science groups and corporate staff want to implement the new language policy. 'We can offer all employees the possibility to take the Oxford Online Placement Test, to measure their level of English. If this shows the need or desire for a suitable course than they will receive a training proposal.’ She points out that many employees have already attended an English language training recently or that their level of English is already high.

‘It's a chance for your own development’,  says Van den Heuvel. She admits that employees also invest in their English language skills if trainings are not offered by Wageningen UR, but this was done on an ad hoc basis. ‘Now it's for everyone, with the support of the employer.’ The Central Participation Council (COR) supports this policy and has agreed with it. Corporate HR carries out the policy, along with In'to Languages.

New to the policy is that the English language skills will play an explicit role in the recruitment and selection of new employees. Depending on the position, language proficiency requirements will be stated in the job criteria. Through a language diploma or test the candidates can then show their suitability.

The new language policy can be found on the intranet.