Workplace English: an increasing challenge for business?

Thursday 18 November 2010, 4:52PM
By grace bassett


Speaking English in the workplace is not what it used to be with people from increasingly diverse language backgrounds settling in New Zealand.
Health and safety, customer service, work supervision and even conversations at the water cooler are providing new challenges for businesses.

English Language Partners New Zealand is hosting the New Zealand Workplace English Forum in Auckland on 3 December at the Aotea Centre.

The first of its kind, the forum brings together employers, researchers, policy-makers, industry training and migrant organisations and others working with English language skills in the workplace.

Claire Szabo, English Language Partners' Chief Executive, said: "There is a growing need for discussion around workplace language issues, particularly as New Zealand becomes much more diverse over the next ten years.

"Auckland is a remarkable gateway for immigrants. The proportion of Auckland's population born overseas is at such a level that it is one of the select numbers of global cities which are labelled ‘super diverse'.

"As immigration shapes our workforce into the future, approaches to English language will influence the productivity of businesses, and the resettlement of new migrants to our country. The forum advances the thinking on English language in the workforce."

Keynote speakers include Peter Conway, Secretary of the Council of Trade Unions; Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce; Dr Judy McGregor, EEO Commissioner with the Human Rights Commission, and Alison Sutton, a leading language and literacy researcher.

The forum is being run in conjunction with the Industry Training Federation, and will also feature panels of employers, training specialists and migrant organisations.

Registrations close Friday 26 November 2010

To register visit

For more information contact