CIOL Qualifications Level 2 Certificate in Languages for Business (CLB)

CLB - May 2020

CIOL Qualifications has reviewed arrangements for all exams scheduled to take place between now and the end of July 2020 and a decision has been made to postpone the Certificate in Languages for Business.

Our priority is the welfare of candidates, assessors and staff and with the impact that the current Coronavirus situation is having, the focus must be the safety and wellbeing of all involved.

We appreciate that this is far from ideal but hope that you will consider this a good opportunity to spend more time preparing for the exam and achieving the qualification you have worked towards.

The exam has now been provisionally re-scheduled to take place in November 2020, date to be confirmed as soon as possible. CIOL Qualifications is constantly monitoring the current situation and if the Coronavirus situation makes this unworkable, we will contact you again.

If you have any queries please contact us by email only to:

About the exam

Is it right for me?

If you are a school, college or university student or someone who runs business and industry training programmes, the CLB serves as an entry-level qualification and set in line with the Common European Framework of Reference for languages.


What are the benefits?

The CLB:

  • Delivers a qualification which reflects practical and authentic application of foreign languages in the workplace
  • Promotes independent, confident and effective linguists with the language skills required to make a positive and effective contribution to international economic activity
  • Enhances access to a language qualification for all abilities, including those who have not traditionally taken academic language qualifications
  • Provides a rigorous qualification mapped against the National Occupational Language Standards

What format does the exam take?

The qualification consists of the following units:

Certificate in Languages for Business - structure
  • Speaking and Listening in (language) in a Business context
  • Reading and Writing in (language) in a Business context

Each unit consists of:

  • 3 controlled assessments (35%)
  • 1 synoptic exam (65%)

The qualification focuses on authentic work-related scenarios and tasks with realistic outcomes. The content covers six topic areas:

  • Companies and organisations
  • Business communication and correspondence
  • International travel
  • Sales and marketing
  • Customer service
  • Rules and regulations

For detailed information on the content and format of the qualification please refer to the PDF icon CLB Handbook.


What languages can I take the exam in?

You can take the CLB in French, German and Spanish, and other languages subject to demand.


What students and teachers say:

"Very practical and helpful for real life situations"  Chloe (Year 12 student)

"Overall, I find the course very useful and it’s something we can use in the future, especially for the workplace"  Ellie (Year 12 student)

"I am teaching this course in a secondary school  to Year 12 students and have a mix of ability in the class from students who started with no Spanish at all to those who are studying Spanish for A-level. The course is very practical, interesting to teach and with a great variety of activities to engage the students, no matter what level they are at. I worked in international business for many years prior to becoming a language teacher and I can vouch for the fact that the material is very current and the skills learnt will be extremely useful in the workplace. I can really see this course taking off.  Employers will love it!!"  Eilis Jordan (Teacher)

The Linguist 54,4 – August/September 2015: "A head for business - How a new language qualification is helping our future workforce to gain skills for business"


How can I prepare for the exam?

It is essential that you read the PDF icon CLB Handbook and our Candidate Regulations to find out detailed information about the exam format, criteria, topic areas and regulations.

Unlike our professional qualifications, the CLB is delivered integrated with teaching due to its controlled assessments. The CLB is currently only available through registered centres. Please send us a message to find out where you can study towards the CLB. Please note that as the Awarding Organisation for the CLB, we are unable to endorse or recommend any particular courses.

Our partner, The Language Alliance, has produced materials for use in schools which are also available to other training providers. Please follow the link below for further information on this, as well as webinars and events about the CLB.

The Language Alliance: Certificate in Languages for Business


When can I take the exam?

The CLB exam takes place once a year. The dates for 2020 are to be announced.

Reading and Writing

Speaking and Listening

Please contact us to find out more.


How much does it cost?

As candidates register through centres, these exam fees are not payable to CIOL Qualifications directly. Please enquire with the centre regarding fees. 

Invoicing and Billing Policy.


Where can I take the exam ?

The CLB is currently offered by a number of schools and universities. Please contact us to find out more. There is currently no CIOLQ Open Centre available for the CLB.

We welcome schools, universities and other training providers who would like to offer the CIOL Qualifications Level 2 Certificate in Languages for Business. Centres for this qualification carry out the controlled assessments of their learners and facilitate the final examinations. Please click here to submit an enquiry: Certificate in Languages for Business - Centre enquiry