Platinum Global – building a business based on English skills
With all of Platinum Global’s customers in North America, the UK and Australasia, English language proficiency is essential to the jobs of its workforce in Vietnam. The company has grown rapidly, and now has two offices and nearly 1,200 staff, who provide design and drafting services to customers building timber-framed buildings. Employees need to be able to speak and write to customers in English, understand written instructions and ask questions if information is missing or unclear.
Ensuring that all staff have the right training and support to operate effectively in an English-speaking environment is vital, as Ngoc Pham, Communications Team Leader, explains: ‘100% of our customers are English speaking, so our staff have to have a really good base of all four skills in the language. We therefore have a high demand for English improvement courses, and a full programme of training to continually increase skills.’
Testing proficiency across 1,200 staff
While all new starters have to demonstrate proof of language competency, as it grew Platinum Global understood that it needed a new way of assessing English skills across all of its workforce. This would allow it to signpost relevant training for improving individual skills. To achieve this it had previously used paper-based tests, but these did not cover all four skills, required external test centre support and were complex to administer. This meant that they were not rolled out across the entire workforce.
The company therefore looked at alternatives that were scalable and would work for all staff, and chose Linguaskill. A fast, flexible online test, Linguaskill assesses reading, writing, listening and speaking, delivering results within 48 hours and requiring minimal administration. The specific Linguaskill Business option, as used by Platinum Global, is focused on the needs of a corporate setting, and tests language use in relevant, business contexts. As Linguaskill is adaptive, it tailors questions to the level of the participant, improving the test experience and ensuring accurate results, all aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) standard.
‘We needed a test that would benchmark all four skills – and it had to be approachable and easy to use for both our candidates and administrators,’ adds Ngoc. ‘Linguaskill was the perfect fit for our needs, and I particularly like that it is adaptive to the level of the candidate, meaning they only receive questions that match their proficiency.’
Driving improvement through targeted training
‘We needed a test that would benchmark all four skills – and it had to be approachable and easy to use for both our candidates and administrators'
Since choosing Linguaskill, Platinum Global has embarked on an ambitious programme to test all of its staff annually, with the aim of improving the average CEFR level of employees from A2 to B1 and then B2 within the next three years. This will ensure all staff can express themselves on a range of topics in English and achieve most goals. Given that all tests take place within the working day, the flexibility, online nature and ease of administration of Linguaskill are key.
‘We currently run tests every day, and we’re very pleased, particularly with the speed of results. While they always arrived within 24 hours, speaking scores are now provided even faster, immediately after the test in many cases,’ adds Ngoc.
The detailed reports provided by Linguaskill also help pinpoint areas for improvement on a skill by skill basis, as Ngoc explains: ‘One employee received an overall B2 grade but struggled to understand accents when she was working in the United States. From checking her report in more detail we could see that her Listening score was at the lower B1 level, hence the issues she was having. We were therefore able to provide her with targeted training to improve her particular skills.’
English is at the heart of Platinum Global’s continued growth, and it is committed to continually raising English proficiency across its expanding workforce. ‘Linguaskill is fair and applicable to all our staff – people now have a very detailed report on their English, enabling us to provide the best training for their individual needs,’ concludes Ngoc.
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