A new relationship with Europe.
The Prospect for Languages?
Angela Byrne, Enterprise Ireland
German in Europe – Taking Stock
Association of Third-Level Teachers of German in Ireland Conference
13th November 2010
What does Enterprise Ireland DO anyway?
 PROACTIVELY help CAPABLE and COMMITTED Irish companies
to grow their business in international markets
 Leading to increased export sales of the products and services
 Through a network of 10 offices in Ireland and
32 INTERNATIONAL OFFICES staffed by 130 specialist market
GERMANY in the news
German unemployment
falls to below 3 million….
GERMANY in the news
GERMANY positioned in a global business context
 Germany is Europe’s largest economy and fifth largest economy in the world. The
economy is booming with revised growth forecasts for 2010 at 3.5%.
 German GDP in CY2009 is estimated at USD3.3 trillion (DACH GDP is at USD4.5
 Germany is not only made up of industrial giants but also from the Mittelstand over three million SMEs employ 80 percent of the labour force.
 IMD’s World Competitiveness rankings 2010:
Germany (#16) leads the larger “traditional” economies with the UK (#22), France (#24) and
Japan (#27)
 German is an official language in seven European countries: Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium and Italy.
It is also the native language of a significant portion of the population in many other European
countries (France, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Russia)
Germany and Ireland: Opportunities Flow in Both Directions
 The German-Irish Chamber of Industry and Commerce recently conducted a
survey amongst its members in Ireland, to examine current economic trends and
overall business confidence
When asked in the survey what sectors offer most opportunities for Irish companies trading
with Germany, 57% of respondents referred to the food industry, 41% to information
technology, 40% to services, 35% to pharmaceuticals and 30% to medical technology.
Respondents were also asked what sectors offered the greatest opportunities for German
companies in Ireland, 68% mentioned renewable energy, 59% energy efficiency, 35% medical
technology, 29% pharmaceuticals, 22% biotechnology and 20% food industry
Ralf Lissek, chief executive of the German-Irish Chamber of Commerce also said that two thirds of
those surveyed were concerned there wasn’t enough being done to encourage the teaching of
foreign languages in Irish schools and third level institutions.
 These survey results are highly significant, as Germany is the third-largest provider
of foreign direct investment in Ireland. German companies employ an estimated
20,000+ people in Ireland.
Dispelling the Myths
 The German Economy is self-sustaining !
 Germany's rapidly aging population is forecast to decline by 20% to around 65
million by 2060 (source: Bundesstatistikamt 2010)
The precipitous drop will be accompanied by a dramatic shift in the amount of elderly people
in Germany. Of the country's current 82 million inhabitants, some 20 percent are now aged
65+. But in 2060, that percentage will increase to 33 percent.
But the population of working age people is expected to drop by as much as 34 percent by
2060, forcing greater immigration in order to support Germany’s continuing economic
development (and the welfare system for elderly Germans).
 Germany needs the inward flow of skilled labour and professional services
An opportunity for Ireland to exploit !
Dispelling the Myths
 I do not have to learn German, because all Germans speak English !
 Well, yes, everybody you talked with spoke English, because those were the only
ones you could talk to!
 The fact is that not all Germans speak English.
A recent EuroSTAT survey showed that 21% of Germans assessed their standard of English
as proficient. 60% claim basic or no command of English.
 In a business context, there is a very high danger that real issues never get
transmitted and the key contacts remain superficial when conducted through
An opportunity for Ireland to exploit !
The government talks the talk....
“Although we have an advantage arising out of the status of English as an international
business language, this should not blind us to the importance of mastering the
languages of our major trading partners. In the case of German, some 100 million
Europeans speak it as their mother tongue and, although Germans are renowned for
their command of English, any Irish company seeking to develop a serious presence in
the German market is likely to benefit considerably from having Irish employees who
are familiar with German.”
Address by an Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, T.D., to the German-Irish Chamber of Industry and
Commerce, in O’Reilly Hall, University College Dublin
October 1st 2010
.....but we have to walk the walk !
European day of Languages – EuroSTAT Report
 We are bottom of the league table for studying a foreign language at Primary Level
with only 3% participation
 At Second Level our showing improves with 58% of students studying one foreign
language (main French) and 17% studying a second foreign language (mainly
 According to the Central Statistics Office of Ireland we export nearly three times
what we import from other EU countries (excluding UK and N. Ire)
 We must realise that key language skills play a key role in our economic strategy
and are right up there with Cost of Production, Broadband Connectivity,
Entrepreneurial Drive and all the other factors spoken of on a daily basis.
 We are an island economy who must engage with the rest of the world if we are to
resume sustained economic growth.
Enterprise Ireland Eurozone Strategy
 Acute concern over UK and US market dependency - problematic on two fronts –
market downturn and currency issues
 Eurozone market team focused on delivering sales contracts with key clients in key
markets of Germany, France, Benelux, Nordics, Eastern Europe, Spain and Italy
 Gaps in international sales capability of Irish companies being addressed
Growing Exports to Eurozone Markets
– is this the make or break business challenge to the future of Irish
Unrealised Potential = Your Opportunity
1995 – 2008…… Some kind of BLIP?
 Celtic Tiger was bad for business
 First gradual then almost complete fall off in demand for business and
language degree courses
 Let’s hope that sanity has returned
 There is such a thing as POSITIVE EMIGRATION
Reasons to be cheerful
 Surge in EI client engagements and deals being closed with German customers
 Germany‘s skills deficit is Ireland‘s opportunity
 Germany is a fantastic place to live and work!
 Internationalisation Capability will be a foremost concern for EI strategy to grow
export sales of Irish companies
 Enterprise Ireland will play a lead role in mobilising Salesforce Ireland
Some Inspirational Career Roadmaps
Niall Worn, DBS Hotel Mgt, DIT Cathal Brugha St 1979
Frances Kelly, BA Intl Marketing Languages NIHE 1986
Philip Walsh, BSc Mgt, DIT 1992, Dip Mktg Practice UCD 1993
Declan Supple, B.Comm Intl (German) UCD 1992
Lisa Shannon, BA Marketing French German DCU 1997
Niall Worn: Then……………..
Graduated 1979 DBS Hotel Mgt DIT
1983-1985 Marketing Asst, McHenry Ddorf
1985-2000 ISA International IT Distribution
2000-2003 – HR Director adimp Switz.
2003-2006 Bergerworn international consulting
2006-2009 Sales Director IDS Imaging GmbH
And now…………………..
Premier Farnell plc
Chicago, United States
Frances Kelly: Then……………………..
Graduated DCU 1986
BA Intl Marketing and Languages (Fr/Ger)
IIRS 2 years
Joined Signium as a researcher in Germany in 1990
…and Now……………………………… Partner with Signium International (Germany)
Multi market senior exec search assignments
40 people, 3 offices in Germany, 20 million fee
revenue in 2007
Recently ranked in the top 100 leading
executive search executives in Germany !
Philip Walsh: Then ……………
Graduated DIT (COMAD) 1992
BSc Mgt/ Adv Dip Marketing Techniques
Postgrad Dip Marketing Practice @ Smurfit
EOP in Germany 1995/1996 (no German)
Sales and Business Planning Director EMEA
Toshiba EUROPE GmbH (Budget responsibility €450 million)
And now……………………
Back in Ireland, founded KlarText: a business
advisory practice specialised in supporting
ambitious companies to plan and execute
export sales growth
Declan Supple: Then ……………
Graduated B.Comm Intl 1992
Joined Andersen Consulting - Graduate Programme in Frankfurt
(one of 3 in the class offered a job – brilliant German)
And Now………………………
“I’m a Partner now at Accenture
in Germany. Responsible for our Supply
Chain Management Consulting practice
for “Resources” industries (Chemicals,
Metals, Mining, Energy etc.) in Austria,
Switzerland, Germany”
Lisa Shannon: Then ……………
Graduated DCU 1997
BA Intl Market Languages (Fr/Ger)
Enterprise Ireland Internship Germany 1997-1999
Wal-mart Germany 1999-2006
1 year as Business Analyst, 5 years
As International Buyer
And now ……………………………….. Buying Controller Footwear
Primark Group HQ
Key buying decision maker
and advisor in Primark
international expansion
Mobilising Salesforce Ireland
2011 International Sales Capability Programme
Focus on Business and Language Graduates
Eurozone growth must be Ireland‘s top priority
Europe is Germany-centric – THINK BIG!
GERMANY is the OPPORTUNITY .............
Angela Byrne, Enterprise Ireland

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