Having a command of Canada’s two official languages is increasingly important for graduates entering the workforce, especially in the National Capital Region. Indeed, bilingualism is clearly now one of the most valuable qualifications in the eyes of employers. That’s why uOttawa’s Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI) offers students the opportunity to have their proficiency in English or in French officially recognized through the Second-Language Certificate (SLC). To earn the certificate, students must pass a series of tests on the four main areas of proficiency: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
“I encourage all students to begin preparing right away for their transition to the workforce,” says Claire T. Cayen, a job-search specialist with Career Services. “In virtually all job offers, bilingualism, if not required, is mentioned as an asset.”
Christy Pitt, a first-year common-law student, recognizes that obtaining the SLC in 2008 has helped her in the past few years: “I wanted proof of my bilingualism to give to employers,” she explains. “So far, it’s been very useful in my job searches, and I recommend that all students who are comfortable in both languages have their bilingualism certified.” Christy even admits that the certificate gave her the confidence and comfort to work and study in her second language.
To take the test, students must register for ESL3100 or FLS3500 (depending on the language). Although attendance is optional, Christy says it’s “very helpful because it offers the opportunity to practise with other students.” Even though lessons and exercises are given, ESL/FSL3100 calls primarily for independent learning, so OLBI strongly recommends that students acquire an intermediate or advanced level in their second language. Only two results are possible on the exam: pass or continuing, and neither affects the student’s overall average.
OLBI’s mission is to promote Canada’s two official languages and to provide students with all the resources they need to learn English and French. The Institute is therefore thrilled with the growing success of this certificate and encourages students to contact it to register.
To learn more about OLBI and the Second-Language Certificate, please visit the OLBI website.