Business English Can Drive Growth in Asian Industrial Revolution

The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it is happening at exponential pace. In the backdrop, it is worth understanding trends in development, innovation, trade and industrialization.

Despite the winds of nationalism that are blowing across our nations we have no option but to embrace globalization and regional integration as our new technology and manufacturing enterprises seek market opportunities beyond their home countries. For many of those companies, English language provides the passport to international growth.

New innovations in manufacturing driven by data, robotics and other technologies are already mainstream. The current phase of the digital revolution will go beyond personal computation to personal fabrication. The barriers for transforming economies like that of Sri Lanka into manufacturing based economies are shrinking with emerging green technology. This trend is transforming manufacturing from unskilled assembly work to professional work requiring a much more highly-trained workforce.

The solution for countries like Sri Lanka to take advantage of the opportunity the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents and succeed in the new digital economy has two parts: educating and connecting their people. Let’s start with educating. To compete in the digital economy, these countries need workforces that are trained in essential and emerging networking skills, as well as non-technical skills like proficiency in English, team work, problem solving, creativity and innovation, and communication. But according to all recent studies, these countries will lack technology professionals in unimaginable numbers who are trained in these skills by 2020 unless corrective measures are adapted.

For many companies at the forefront of this growth, the need for skilled workers is not being met by the educational system. Almost all training for new technology is available primarily or exclusively in English, and the strongest global communities of practice around new industrial workforce methods take place in English.

With so much opportunity on the line in a region geared for growth and innovation, and so much competition for the skilled labor necessary to enable that growth, the businesses should look to outside partners who can help build the foundations for workforce development. For example, organizations can take the first step by providing employees with the tools to learn Business English.