TEENAGERS were given a taste of life in the working world when they gathered for a business brunch.

A number of industry leaders were at the event to offer advice on how to climb the career ladder.

And one of their key messages was the importance of language skills in helping companies to grow in the modern world.

Pupils from Trinity High, in Renfrew, St Luke’s High, in Barrhead, and Williamwood High, in Clarkston, were among those invited to the business brunch at the University of Strathclyde.

The event was organised by the Scottish Centre for Information on Language Teaching (SCILT), in partnership with the University Council for Modern Languages Scotland.

Among the companies who supported the event were Shepherd and Wedderburn, Radio Lingua, Keppie Design and Bank ABC.

Fhiona Mackay, director of SCILT, said: “Events such as these are a really important way of providing young people with high-quality careers advice, delivered by the business people themselves, and of demonstrating to them the value of language skills in our increasingly globalised world.”

Eric Balish, director of trade finance (Scotland and Ireland) at Bank ABC, led one of the workshops at the business brunch, stressing to students that “life is a competition”.

He told them: “Most of your competitors speak at least two and perhaps multiple languages. Speaking English is simply not enough to thrive and prosper now, far less in the future.

“Our business is anchored in financing international trade. We have a particular focus on trade into the Middle East and North Africa and also Brazil. However, we operate throughout Europe.

“As a consequence, it is vital that we can communicate in a broad range of languages.”

One teacher who attended the event described it as “a fantastic opportunity”, adding: “It has given my pupils a deeper appreciation that language learning is not just about the words but that being able to speak a language can break down so many barriers in so many different ways.”