A French-born MSP has urged more students to study his native tongue.
Dijon-born member Christian Allard, who resides in Donside, is calling for more young people to take up French in school.
The call comes after figures released by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) showed that the number of pupils taking French at Higher was down from 4,688 to 4,236.
The SNP MSP for North East Scotland said: “Having a second language opens up so many doors in terms of employment and travel. French is the official language in a number of international organisations such as the United Nations and NATO as well as sporting organisations including FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.
“In today’s job market, having knowledge of a second language can give you the competitive edge to succeed.”
Mr Allard talked of his own battles with learning English as a second language: “I know first-hand how important a second language can be. As a young man I wanted to go abroad with aid organisations to Africa. To my disappointment I was unable to go because my level of English was not good enough.”
“The energy sector here in the North East is a great example to parents and young people of how international an industry can become.”