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UKINNOVATION UK145 management of high- voltage systems. Additional areas of focus are the fundamental study, analysis, evaluation and forensic examination of solid and liquid insulation materials deployed in high- voltage equipment. The latest product to emerge from this group is PowerTracker T , a novel condition monitoring system for high- voltage transformers. In the course of this development the group secured two Proof of Concept awards. Our work in this area is vital in combating the challenges of ageing national- grid infrastructure throughout the world. Transformational busines knowledge We believe that business, public sector and third- sector organisations can achieve bigger and better things by working with the Applied Knowledge Exchange at Glasgow Caledonian University. By developing collaborative relationships with corporate, public and third- sector clients, we bridge the gap between the expertise, technology and skills available at Glasgow Caledonian University and your business's need for innovative, profitable solutions. If you are curious to know more, contact us! Let us diagnose your need and focus on how we can unlock the potential of your business with our specialist academic knowledge. For more information contact: Fiona Stewart- Knight or Dr Andrew McNair The Applied Knowledge Exchange Tel: + 44 ( 0) 141 331 3189 E- mail: appliedknowledgeexchange@ gcal. ac. uk Website: www. gcal. ac. uk/ appliedknowledgeexchange www. gcal. ac. uk/ appliedknowledgeexchange For further information please contact 0141 331 3189 E- mail: appliedknowledgeexchange@ gcal. ac. uk Glasgow Caledonian University is a registered Scottish Charity Number SC021474 APPLIED KNOWLEDGE EXCHANGE From consultancy to research, test facilities and other expertise, our flexible, customer- friendly service is tailored to your requirements and draws on the knowledge of our seven academic schools and range of expert centres. And, for small to medium sized companies, the Business Transformation Fund exists to help fund your project. Contact us now to find out more about how you can benefit and how to apply for support from the Business Transformation Fund. THE CHALLENGE YOur BusINEss. YOur POTENTIAL. THE suPPOrT Our KNOWLEDGE. Our EXPErIENCE. THE rEsuLT TAILOrED sOLuTION. suCCEss. Centres of Excellence Scotland: Glasgow Caledonian university

146INNOVATION UKINNOVATION As the international language powering world trade, the English language is an essential business tool for innovative organisations. By Stephen Carey at the International English Language Testing System ( IELTS) Speech therapy As the world has become more globalised and intercon-nected than ever before, being multilingual has become increasingly important and often seen as essential. As new economies develop rapidly, the value of being able to speak Mandarin, Arabic and Hindi is increasing. How-ever, English remains the leading international language, with an estimated 1.5 billion speakers across the world. The dominance of English is arguably greater than the powerful reach of Latin in the ancient world. It is the language of modern scholarship, the Internet and tech-nology, the global media and advertising, international politics and diplomacy, and particularly, global business. The prolific growth of English is both a result and cause of globalisation. The boom in international trade has brought people from all cultures and countries together to exchange goods and services. However, the role that English has played in driving global trade and reducing the sense of distance between countries is often over-looked. With more people on the move today than at any other point in human history, English has increas-ingly become the " lingua franca" for international trade. This is powerfully underlined by the calculation that an estimated 80% of those communicating in English are non- native speakers. Consequently, English is the most widely studied second language in the world and its role as a communicative currency means that ensuring consistent standards of English across the world is central to its value. Many non- native English speakers seeking to work or study in English- speaking countries need to take a language test to demonstrate their ability to communicate. For this purpose IELTS, the International English Language Test-ing System, is currently taken by more than a million peo-ple annually who wish to pursue higher- education, immi-gration and employment opportunities abroad. Jointly managed by the British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations ( Cam-bridge ESOL) in over 125 countries, IELTS was one of the pioneers of English language testing 20 years ago and continues to set the standard for English language testing today. Students participate from the far corners of the world where there are IELTS test centres, with locations as diverse as Argentina, Uganda, Syria and China. The three organisations bring a wealth of linguistic and cultural expertise to how the test is designed and deliv-ered to ensure that it remains relevant around the world. With over 1.2m people taking IELTS in 2008, successful candidates attest to both the rigour of the test and the opportunities it brings them to study or work abroad. But how do candidates raise their level of English to the level required by the global recognising organisations? To meet this challenge, the British Council is now taking advantage of technology by rolling out the free online preparation course, the Road to IELTS, to candidates who register at its test centres and the test centres it manages. This newly redesigned course will provide fresh content on a regular basis, as well as allowing a candi-date who has only a few weeks between registration and test date a manageable amount of material that they can prepare for. It contains 120 hours of content, divided into four 30- hour blocks, which are refreshed quarterly. This online version is the first stage of a programme of initiatives to meet the needs of British Council candi-dates for a greater variety - in both content and delivery methods - of preparation materials. IELTS has seen incredible growth having been at the forefront of English language testing for the last two decades. The numbers of candidates taking the test have more than doubled in the last three years, clearly Education IELTS