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Building language talent in Wales

01 August 2011

Guopei ZhouCentre student Guopei Zhou

New initiatives at the Centre for Lifelong Learning are helping develop the nation’s pool of language skills.

The Centre has become Wales’ first examination centre for The Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) qualification.

Elsa Cowie, the Centre’s Academic Lead for Public Service Interpreting, explained: "Until this year there was no examination centre for the DPSI in Wales. There was a real demand for the DPSI as it is a national qualification which many public bodies prefer interpreters to achieve before assigning work. In Wales, there are currently only 26 people on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) for which the DPSI is the main requirement, so the demand is there."

Forty students have just completed the first year’s course and the Centre is now recruiting for 2012. The development is just one of a number of languages initiatives at the Centre, including the introduction of a new exam in Mandarin. The HSK (Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi)) is an international standardized Chinese proficiency test, backed by the Chinese government. The exam assesses non-native Chinese speakers’ abilities in using Mandarin in their daily, academic and professional lives.

One of the first group to pass the exam at the Centre, Cardiff Mathematics student Guopei Zhou said: "Many companies in the UK are now looking for bigger markets in China, so this qualification can only help my CV."

Russian Essay Winner - David BeckettRussian Essay Winner David Beckett

There was further success for a Centre student, David Beckett, who is learning Russian and has just won the national Russian Essay Competition 2011, open to all higher education Russian students. David said: "I entered the essay competition as I wanted the opportunity to put my language skills to the test, and to see how I compared to students from other colleges. Learning Russian has allowed me to travel further afield and communicate with a greater number of people."

Dr Richard Evans, Dean of Lifelong Learning said: "To be competitive in a global marketplace, Wales needs a strong foreign language skills base. Cardiff University is a significant provider of languages at all levels including degrees and professional qualifications. The Centre for Lifelong Learning is continually updating and innovating its range of courses to meet the needs of the population to travel and do business abroad."

For more details on the DPSI exams go to For more details on the Chinese Proficiency Test (HSK) and the Centre’s portfolio of international language qualifications, please visit . Courses are open to everyone and are taught at a variety of times to suit busy lifestyles. Tutors are specially trained to teach adult learners and are native speakers.

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