Uber accepts new proposals to enforce English language tests
Uber has accepted new proposals to enforce English language standards on its drivers in London by withdrawing a legal challenge. The ride-hailing app went to court after Transport for London (TfL) said all applicants for a private hire driver’s licence in the capital from October 2016 should have to prove their ability to communicate in English and take tests in basic writing and reading. TfL has now agreed on English language tests that are adapted specifically to a private hire driver’s role.
Anthony Eyarhono, General Manager of UK sales at Rosetta Stone believes this case is an indication that English language learning needs to be prioritised in the UK.
“Many people have traditionally assumed that language training in the UK focused on French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese – but this is no longer the case,” said Eyarhono. “TFL’s declaration that all private hire drivers should be able to communicate in English is a direct reflection of what many businesses established or headquartered in the UK are facing. The country has become a multi-cultural hub, with different nationalities bringing new skills to the UK workforce, and with it, new languages. This presents a challenge, particularly for those hiring employees in customer-facing roles, as there’s a growing need for them to be able to communicate appropriately in English.
Eyarhono continued: “Organisations like Uber need to be taking greater responsibility for their international employees when it comes to language learning. Whether it’s informally encouraging local language development or implementing an official language training programme, it’s beneficial for UK businesses to be prioritising language education for non-English speakers – just as global or European companies tend to encourage local language learning for English speakers in foreign locations. English has long been the lingua-franca of the business world and as this Uber story indicates, having the ability to converse and communicate in the local language is becoming more and more important – not just for the individuals involved, but for business as a whole.”