Reason and Impact Envisaged

European small and medium sized enterprises belong to the sector which experiences most difficulty facing communication barriers (see Elan Report, 2007) with an average annual export turnover loss of up to 11%. The Pimlico report published in autumn 2011 http://ec.europa.eu/languages/languages-mean-business/files/pimlico-full-report_en.pdf shows that SMEs gain an average of 16-25% increase in turnover if implementing a Language Management Strategy (LMS).

The introduction and development of the communication audit to enable SMEs to improve their competitiveness, will enable more to survive and expand through export and in so doing support a multilingual intercultural workforce whilst retaining higher levels of employment. Furthermore this will create new job opportunities by introducing new employment categories through the auditors and scheme managers thereby supporting mobility within the European workforce.

Aims and Objectives

To pilot the new extended audit scheme in 4 countries and regions (Poland, Lithuania, Spain-Basque region and Italy-Sicily), to identify and remove linguistic and cultural barriers which arise from cross-border trade thus enhancing their competitiveness.

  • To pilot developed audit schemes for SMEs in PL, LT, ES, IT
  • To extend and implement a training programme for Communication Auditors in 4 countries and in 7 languages
  • To develop practical materials adapted for each country’s particular environment for the Auditor workshops
  • To introduce a theoretical part with an exam section with materials available on-line
  • To promote the Communication Audit Scheme
  • To select and train up to 40 language auditors across 4 countries (PL - 10; LT – 10; ES (Basque country) - 10; IT (Sicily)- 10
  • To pilot European Communication audits in 80 SMEs across PL (20), LT (20), ES (Basque Country) (20) and IT (Sicily) (20)
  • To review progress and produce report

Characteristics of the Partnership

The partners all represent key organisations in their respective regions with the ability to implement and disseminate the outcomes of the project. With a network of LCA Auditors forming across Europe the project partners envisage the intra-European trade to increase with supported mobility and create new overseas sales opportunities in the future.

Main Outcomes

  • Operational Audit scheme in 4 new countries managed by a Chamber of Commerce, government body or private organisation
  • Communication Audit Training Scheme set up and operating
  • Dissemination plan for promoting the Scheme and the Training Programme Training workshops in each of 4 new countries, regions (the Basque Country, Lithuania, Sicily and Poland) including cross fertilisation of ideas
  • Website in Polish, Lithuanian, Spanish, Basque, Hungarian, English, Italian with news of developments and summaries of the work undertaken, downloadable materials and guidance for auditors
  • Validation report in 6 languages with summary in English