Knowing where to start when choosing the right business English course for your industry can be overwhelming as there is so much choice available and making the wrong choice could be an expensive mistake to make.
Do you feel like you just don’t know where to begin?
In this blogpost we’re looking at what to consider when making your choice.
Now, off we go…
What do you really need from your business English course?
In order to start to narrow down your choices of course, it makes sense to first carry out a needs audit on what you really need for your job role and English level as most quality business courses have tailored elements and so your course provider will need this information too. You could start by answering the following questions:
- How often do you use English in your job?
- Do you usually converse with native speakers or not?
- Do you primarily use spoken or written English?
- Which skills do you think you need the most help with? (Speaking? Listening? Reading? Writing?)
- Do you need industry specific language or do you feel confident with that?
- Do you need help with soft skills? E.g. making small talk with others at a conference?
- Do you have something specific you need help with? E.g. an upcoming presentation in English
- Do you need a business English qualification?
Another useful activity is to think over the last working week and consider your interactions in English – what were you comfortable with? What did you find difficult or caused you the most stress? If you could have had help with just one or two of these interactions which would you choose? Answering these questions and noting down your answers will assist you in honing in on what your needs really are. It might also be useful to ask a trusted colleague for honest feedback!
What time do you have available and what is your budget?
This may sound obvious but do consider carefully how much time and funding you realistically have to set aside for your language training. Your employer may be happy for you to use some of your work time plus some annual leave. Likewise they may pay for your course completely or contribute towards it. Remember to factor in the costs of the course, travel and accommodation.
Check the quality of your training provider – including quality of accommodation!
It’s really important to check the quality of the training providers that you’re considering and one of the best ways to do this is by checking the EL Gazette’s list of the Centres of Excellence (For UK schools) which will show you the centres that have achieved the top scores in British Council inspections.
Questions to ask training providers
What companies have you worked with in my sector? – An excellent training provider will be able to give you some examples of companies in your sector (or related sector) that they have worked with successfully.
Do you have trainers from a similar background? – Similarly, they will be able to give you some examples of some of the trainers’ backgrounds that might match with yours.
Will I have opportunities to practise what I learn on the course? – It’s always useful to be able to visualise how the course will work, will you be using roleplay? Ideally you want to be able to have lots of opportunities to have as much practice as possible with constructive feedback to help you to improve.
Can I take an exam at the end of the course? It’s good to know if this option is available in case it would be useful to have proof of your training and level.
How can you help me with my specific language needs? – Excellent and outstanding training providers will want to know lots about your needs so that they can be confident in recommending the right course for you.
Hopefully by following these considerations, you will be able to have a helpful awareness of your own needs and means as well as what to look for in training providers.
Here at LSI / IH Portsmouth we have a whole floor of our centre dedicated to Professional Communication Training courses. We have a range of courses available from 1:1 classes, small group training and English for specific sectors such as the automotive industry, pharmaceutical industry and engineering. Here in Portsmouth, you can stay with one of our excellent executive host families for a complete immersion into the language and culture. Our student service team will help you to select which course would be suitable for your individual needs.
LSI / IH Portsmouth’s Approach:
- Analyse and identify your communication, language and intercultural needs together with you.
- Design your training course to meet those specific requirements.
- Adapt materials to real-life situations related to your job so your training is always authentic, relevant and practical.
- Monitor and assess your progress and measure it against your objectives in a tangible way.
- Provide regular feedback and advice throughout your course.
- Give you the tools to allow you to continue developing your skills after the course.
You can find information about online professional English courses in Bristol here.
English for Work courses at IH Manchester
Specialised English courses at IH Galway
Executive immersion courses at IH Belfast