Intercultural Skills Tool for London
London is a multicultural and multilingual city. One in four Londoners come from an ethnic minority group and the city boasts representation of over 90 countries living within its borders. This cultural diversity has introduced new challenges for London's employers. The need for greater intercultural skills in staff is a necessity if businesses are to facilitate clearer lines of internal communication, provide higher levels of customer service and ultimately create successful businesses.
To support employers in meeting this challenge, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) London Central commissioned a study into the needs of London's businesses. The resulting "Managing in a Global City" report produced by Regional Language Network London (RLN) and supported by CILT (the National Centre for Languages) identified intercultural skills training as a fundamental need for managers and supervisors in key Central London service sectors.
The LSC further commissioned a second stage to the process which involves the design and development of generic intercultural skills training tools that can be used by businesses to provide their personnel with the appropriate knowledge and know-how to work effectively in a cross cultural environment.
Kwintessential, one of the UK's most up and coming intercultural training providers, has been chosen as the firm to undertake this trailblazing initiative. Kwintessential provide businesses, organisations and individuals with cultural awareness training covering a range of topics including expatriate relocation briefings, intercultural management training, cross cultural team building, diversity training and international etiquette. Their bespoke approach combined with unmatched expertise has afforded their clients success on the international stage.
The training tools to be developed shall provide a simple yet highly effective means of addressing many of the issues that manifest in a multicultural workplace. Communication styles, value systems, beliefs, assumptions, perceptions of time, personal space and eye contact are just some of the many areas that are influenced by people's "cultural programming". When these differences exist within the workplace the possibility for causing offense, misunderstandings and poor performance are increased. By building cultural awareness and nurturing intercultural skills such training helps build bridges, leverage differences and form strong, productive teams.
"We are delighted to be working alongside three visionary partners in the LSC, RLN and CILT. All have shown great enthusiasm, determination and foresight in addressing one of the most important business issues of our time," stated Managing Director, Neil Payne. "Intercultural skills will increase in importance as our cities and country as a whole continues to become so richly diverse in its cultural make-up. Providing our businesses with intercultural training will make a real difference to their performance. Perhaps more importantly the move has galvanised and given publicity to the whole area of intercultural skills within the workplace."
'Managing in a Global City' is funded by the LSC, the organisation which exists to make England better skilled and more competitive. They are responsible for planning and funding high-quality vocational education and training for everyone and have a single goal: to improve the skills of England's young people and adults to world-class standards. Their vision is that by 2010, young people and adults in England have the knowledge and skills matching the best in the world and are part of a truly competitive workforce. Established in 2001, they work nationally, regionally and locally from a network of offices across the country.
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