Business Language Testing Service

Case Studies

BULATS tests are used by many of the world's leading professional and commercial organisations. BULATS is designed for the growing number of organisations which rely on the language skills of their employees in order to operate effectively: companies trading in international markets; national and local government departments; or any organisation for which good international communication is an important part of its work.

Who uses BULATS?


Air France (France) - 19 March 2010

Air France chooses Cambridge English Language Assessment to assess the English Language skills of its staff

Air France has appointed the experts in language assessment, Cambridge English Language Assessment, to assess the language skills of its workforce of nearly 63,000 employees. The three year contract with Cambridge English is to use its Business Language Testing Service (BULATS). 
Cambridge English Langauge Assessment, a department of the University of Cambridge, won the tender issued by the airline last December. Air France will be working with Cambridge English to replace the existing language assessment tests used by the training department of the group to evaluate nearly 6,000 employees each year. 
“These tests are on demand and adaptive, which allows them to fit our needs perfectly,” explains Frederic Mesplès, general purchasing manager at Air France. “I believe that Cambridge English Language Assessment is a benchmark for certification in English.” 
Dr Mike Milanovic, Former Chief Executive of Cambridge English Language Assessment, said:
“English is the global language of business and in today's highly competitive global economy, effective communications is a must for businesses who have staff and customers spread across the globe. BULATS was designed for companies like Air France who need an accurate and reliable business language testing service for training and staff development. The aviation industry relies so heavily on communication and this project will allow the airline to benchmark the English language skills across their entire organisation.”.
TNT (China) - July 2009
TNT (UAE) - successfully delivers language tests to workforce in UAE
 Global delivery giant TNT, which has operations in 65 countries, has seen unprecedented growth in the last 5 years in UAE. The organisation which delivers shipments to over 200 countries relies on a well-trained and engaged workforce to sustain this growth. With growth comes new training challenges, and a big part of this in recent years has been the need to up-skill employees’ language ability.
The language challenge in the UAE
In 2009, TNT's Express division in the UAE found they needed a way to measure the language skills of their workforce. The Express division is among the world's largest express operators and deliver over 4 million parcels each year. The increasingly international nature of the business means it is essential for employees to have a high level of language ability to compete in the global market.
BULATS is adopted by TNT
In September 2009, the organisation began offering Cambridge English Language Assessment's BULATS to existing and new employees. BULATS is the Business Language Testing Service – a test developed by Cambridge English. It is an economical, user-friendly system that has been designed to give companies a quick, reliable and cost effective way of assessing the language skills of their staff.
“BULATS is very user friendly and has helped to measure the existing team's language level and arrive at a recognised benchmark,” explains Wasim Javed, HR Director for TNT Express UAE.
TNT Express is continually expanding its network in Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and the Middle East. It employs over 74,000 people and as the market continues to widen, the Express division in the UAE has put provisions in place to ensure that new recruits are also up to speed in terms of language ability. As Wasim Javid puts it:
“BULATS is also very useful for recruitment. The scores are internationally recognised, which means we know exactly what an employee can do in terms of language ability.”
Banco do Brazil (Brazil) - March 2009

Since 1991 Banco do Brasil has established the Development Programme in Foreign Languages. Its format has undergone several changes over the time. Comparing it to the policies of languages development of other countries, the main difference is the use of international certifications as a way to verify the return on investment and staff language skills mapping. The international recognition of Cambridge English Language Assessment was, of course, the most important criteria in choosing these assessments for the programme. Besides being neutral and reliable instruments, certificates indicate the real knowledge of the language, disregarding differences between levels reported by schools in various languages nationwide. Leveling knowledge in this way standardises the staff curriculum since in each school, working hours, programme content, etc, may vary widely.

Considering our needs for rapid results, we recommend our employees to, whenever possible, take BULATS, especially the computer version, which allows quicker results. Moreover, as an "intelligent" test, the computer version ends as soon as the level is identified, so candidates spend less time. Other important factors are the possibility of evaluating other languages (French, Spanish and German) and the various skills tested.
TAECO (China) - 28 May 2008

TAECO (China) - Improving Effectiveness & Efficiency of English Language Training, TAECO’s Solution with BULATS

Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering Company Limited (TAECO) is a joint venture, involved in the maintenance and cargo conversion of transport aircraft, as well as maintenance and company offices in Beijing and Shanghai. The training center of TAECO is directly responsible for the English language training of both existing and new apprentices, trainees, mechanics and office staff; upgrading of the English language ability of existing technical supervisors through examinations and courses.
Mr Bruce Moore, Lead Training Officer (Language) said, “With our further extension into more 3rd party work, we could either compile our own courses and write our own examinations, or choose an examination system that was widely recognised. Having looked at a number of available paths to take, BULATS was ideal for the business market.
It provides company management with a perfect platform to benchmark their staff and in the recruitment of new staff. It allows us to conduct training courses to upgrade the English level of course attendees and then provide an examination at the conclusion of the course.
We incorporate the BULATS test into our training: course attendees take the BULATS test both before and after the training. The comparison of the results demonstrates the significant improvement of the attendees' English proficiency and it also showcases the effectiveness of the course.”
The creating of new test questions by Cambridge English Language Assessment is a long process involving a great deal of testing. This testing process, coupled with the method of identifying a person's English level, instilled confidence in the product.
Wipro (India) - April 2008

BULATS in India: Wipro Technologies

Wipro Technologies, a branch of Wipro Ltd (NYSE :WIT), is a software consultancy, which, across the world, has know, one of the highest growth rates. Wipro Technologies recently appealed to Cambridge English Language Assessment to create evaluation sessions thanks to BULATS, for more than 1000 employees. This evaluation took place in their development centre in Bangalore, in South India.
It concerned a project which the company had lead in collaboration with British Council so as to evaluate the communication competences (in a commercial context) of the Wipro employees on the international scales of language and linguistic standards.
Wipro has 27,000 professionals across the world and offers its services to more than 300 clients, leaders in the market at an international level. The company hopes to follow the evaluation sessions thanks to BULATS in the coming years in its other development centres in India. It is one of the important efforts to reinforce the commercial communications competences which is becoming the centre of interest for training and development.
Airbus (France, Germany, Spain, UK) - Jan 2006

Airbus adopts a new testing service

European aviation giant Airbus is working with a consortium of leading providers of language assessment to introduce a computer-based language testing service.
The BULATS Business Language Testing Service is to be introduced at Airbus' sites in France, Germany, Spain and the UK and will help the company to assess the effectiveness of its training programmes as well as testing the language skills of employees and job applicants.
BULATS provides a rapid, accurate assessment of language skills in English, French, German and Spanish and is linked to the five-level scale for language assessment established by the Council of Europe. It involves a computer-based test (also available as a paper-and-pencil test), backed up by optional tests of writing and speaking skills in a business context. It is provided by four members of the Association of Language Testers in Europe - the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, Alliance Française, Goethe-Institut and Universidad de Salamanca, and is already in use by businesses and training organisations in Europe, the Far East and Latin America.
As part of the structured language development programme, BULATS provides the ideal tool to establish an individual's starting level and track progress towards the target level. Ease of use, instantaneous results and the ability to cross reference ability in Airbus' four main languages are the key attributes that attracted the aircraft manufacturer to the BULATS system.
(With headquarters in Toulouse, France, Airbus is a joint EADS Company with BAE SYSTEMS.)
Hitachi (Japan) - December 2005

The BULATS Writing Test at Hitachi

Hitachi have adopted the BULATS Writing Test as the company's official personnel appraisal program. Here, Hitachi employee trainer Michihiro Hirai gives us some feedback on why they've chosen BULATS.
When I was still at the Hitachi Institute of Foreign Languages (HIFL), which is a residential intensive English training centre for Hitachi, Ltd. and its subsidiary companies, I evaluated a number of English qualification tests and recommended the BULATS Writing Test to the company's management. Now Hitachi, Ltd. has officially adopted it as part of its personnel appraisal system.
Through my experiences as Director of HIFL during the last four years of my service at Hitachi and also as a liaison between overseas customers and factory engineers during the preceding years, I have come to acutely realize not only that English is essential to our growth as a global enterprise but also that active skills (speaking and writing skills), rather than passive skills (reading and listening skills), are what our employees need to improve most. My recent research at HIFL has shown that, at least among Japanese businesspersons, active skills do not correlate strongly enough with passive skills and hence should be addressed with a specifically focused approach. This should include test and evaluation as well as training: different yardsticks should be employed to measure different skills. Before I took the office at HIFL, the company had already been using an off-the-shelf passive skill test and an in-house speaking test as measures for the employees' English abilities. What we needed was a reliable writing test relevant to our business environments.
As an avid English learner myself, I have taken a number of English proficiency tests available in Japan and thus have acquired a good grasp of them. In terms of validity (relevance to the company's business), reliability, and world-renowned authority (Cambridge University), I picked the BULATS Writing Test and conducted an evaluation run of it on our employees in cooperation with the British Council in 2001. Substantiated by actual data, my proposal went through this year (2002), resulting in the adoption of it as the company's official personnel appraisal program.
Michihiro Hirai
 Summer, 2002
Italia Lavoro (Italy) - August 2005

Training people for work in Italy

A government-backed scheme in Italy has adopted BULATS as a key element in a project to enhance the job prospects of unemployed young people in the south of the country.
Italia Lavoro was set up in 1997 by the Italian Ministero del Lavoro e della Previdenza Sociale to develop active employment policies, especially in areas of high unemployment.
A programme that provides training in language and computer skills for people in areas of high unemployment has been established by the Ministero del Lavoro and carried out by Italia Lavoro. The programme - targeted at people aged 16 to 32 - will provide 60,000 people with a computer to use for distance learning. The candidates involved are not taking other training courses and are on the unemployment register. Italia Lavoro chose BULATS (the Business Language Testing Service) as a means of assessing the languages skills of participants in the programme. BULATS provides a comprehensive assessment of the learner's language skills at the end of the programme.
Dubai Emirates Group (Dubai) - March 2004

Dubai Group Emirates is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world and has received more than 310 international awards for excellence since it launch in 1985. Currently, the Group flies to 90 destinations in Europe, the Middle East, the Far East, Africa, Asia, Australasia and North America.

It's engineering division, Emirates Engineering, is one of the world's most technologically advanced aircraft maintenance facilities. Emirates engineering personnel are full proven and qualified at all levels. They manage and implement all aspects of maintenance, engineering, quality, planning and logistics. A decision was made to ensure that staff should be proficient in English so the Group decided to choose Cambridge BULATS as their benchmark.
The Group is currently using CBBULATS for recruiting and training UAE Nationals in various development programs i.e. cabin crew, cadet pilot, engineering apprenticeships and management trainees. Emirates Group includes Emirates, the international Airline of the United Arab Emirates and one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, and DNATA, the airport ground handling agent and the largest travel organization in the Middle East. 
UAE National Recruitment and Development, Emirates Group, Mr Fahad Al Hassawi said: “CBBULATS will help the Emirates Group test initial language skills accurately and then track the development of our UAE national staff and also help shape training programs by generating feedback on our language training effectiveness.
“CBBULATS is very easy to adopt and use, and is responsive and accurate – all of which convinced us to select the package.”
United Nations Development Programme (Vietnam) - 27 January 2004

“The UNDP has been using BULATS for nearly 10 years and have always been very impressed with its tests both in terms of the quality and the service given. As UNDP comprises staff from many different countries, English proves to be crucial in facilitating effective communication among all staff. We use BULATS as an official tool to test our staff’s English level because we know it is a global standard test delivered in a very helpful, friendly and swift manner. We think BULATS is not only suitable for people working in International Organisations and Companies, but also for students who may need to learn to use the language in order to better prepare themselves for employment positions with such entities in the future.”