Language learning insights for companies

The story of Go, Johnson Matthey: Why professional development never stops

“You never know when the course of your career might change… Over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry and I still found myself with an urgent need to be able to progress professionally. The need of communicating in one common language, English”


Meet Go Motohashi, an Engineer from a small Japanese town near Tokyo, working in the big city as a project engineer. He’s been in the automotive industry for over 20 years, working for the same employer for most of his life, up until recently when he decided to join Johnson Matthey, the global leader in applied science and sustainable technologies. After taking on this new role, Go found himself with a new challenge he’s never had to face before in order to progress his professional career: The challenge of communicating in one same language, English.

We met Go in the lounge of our Executive Language Campus in Cambridge, to hear how Johnson Matthey supports his professional development with a corporate language training program with EF.


Why did you need to develop your English skills?

Throughout my professional career, I’ve been only required to communicate in Japanese due to a decentralized model in the company I’ve previously worked for. Then, like most people in Japan, I wanted to look for new opportunities to take my career to the next level. That’s when I joined Johnson Matthey.

The requirements of the latter were different. With over 14,000 professionals around the world, Johnson Matthey’s employees need to collaborate across borders with colleagues in other hubs such as China, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. It is essential for employees to be able to communicate with each other in one common language, English.

I never thought I would be facing this challenge at this stage in my career. But in this fast-paced globalized world, it is essential to develop communication skills and continue working on your professional development. English instantly became an urgent need. Not only to communicate with other colleagues around the world but in order to progress with my own projects. I am required to provide reports, attend business conferences, write emails in English and hold virtual meetings on a daily basis, to name a few.

Given my urgent need to improve these skills to use in my workplace, Johnson Matthey provided the opportunity to take part in a corporate language training program, supporting me with the right approach to gain these new skills.


How was your experience studying English with EF?

I really enjoyed my corporate language training with EF. I had the opportunity to study online as well as attending a full immersion course in Cambridge that included daily face-to-face lessons. During my time in Cambridge, I had a teacher who focused only on my specific challenges, tailoring the class to my needs, to make sure I reach my goals in as little time possible.

During my time in Cambridge, I’ve surrounded myself with professionals from all over the world, making it a great place to network and meet people with similar interests to mine.
Given that I needed to improve as quickly as possible, I stayed with a local host family which allowed me to continue practicing my language skills even further outside training hours.


Professional Development


How were your English skills then and where are you at now?

My English was very basic when I first joined the program. After taking the EF SET – a test to find out what my level was – I found that I was only at an elementary level, so I knew there was a lot of work to be done. Therefore, with the support of Johnson Matthey, I’ve been given the opportunity to combine an online with face-to-face training.

After only 6 weeks of corporate language training, I have improved 2 levels in the language! I can definitely see progress as I feel more comfortable and confident communicating in the language. I look forward to continuing my journey studying with the EF online school once I return home.


How will English impact your career?

In this fast-paced globalized world, it’s essential to be able to communicate in the business’ language. English became one of the most important skills for my job as I am required to collaborate across borders; either reporting about my projects, writing emails, attending conferences and trainings in foreign countries or simply to communicate with colleagues around the globe. Feeling confident with my language skills is now a necessity, rather than a choice.

I look forward to returning home and starting to practice my new skills in the workplace. I will also continue my journey studying online with EF to continue my professional development.

My ultimate goal is to be able to hold conversations without making any mistakes. I know there’s a long way to go, but every journey starts with one single step.


Help your employees reach their potential Find out more

Share this article

Latest articles from Stories