ECSA: Writing in Clear English

Mon 23 Nov 2015

ECSA: Writing in Clear English

Client: European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)

Programme: Writing in Clear English

(Delivered in Brussels, autumn, 2015)

The client

From the ECSA’s website: “The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), founded in 1965 under the name of “Comité des Associations d'Armateurs des Communautés Européennes (CAACE)”, is the trade association representing the national shipowners’ associations of the EU and Norway, or 40% of the world fleet by gross tonnage. The EU shipping industry contributes 145 billion to the EU GDP and provides 2.3 million Europeans with promising careers both onboard and ashore.

Our aim is to promote the interests of European shipping so that the industry can best serve European and international trade and commerce in a competitive free enterprise environment to the benefit of shippers and consumers and help formulate EU policy on critical maritime transport-related issues.”

The structure of ECSA consists of a Board of Directors, three specialised committees, a number of working groups and task forces, targeting specific issues, and a permanent secretariat based in Brussels.”

The problem

English continues to be a prominent language when communicating in writing in Brussels. In turn, complicated language and jargon is often typical of the written communications of European Union institutions. The client therefore wanted a workshop which would develop the skills and techniques of its employees to ensure that all documents coming out of the ECSA would meet the high expectations of a critical audience.

Our actions

Dods Training has a long and established history of delivering high-level and bespoke communications training. We also have an in-depth knowledge of the EU institutions and the writing styles utilised in Brussels. This ensured that we were able to put something together which was context-specific and relevant for delegates.

Working closely with the client, our training experts analysed the types of communications used by participants undertaking the course. This allowed us to tailor the sessions and make them directly applicable for delegates once they returned to work.

It was important that the course tackled different writing styles and appropriate use of language in general, as well as focusing specifically on the Brussels-context. Breaking these elements down into short, interactive sessions, enforced the learning and built on knowledge as the day went on.

Our regular dealings with Brussels, both in the training team and the wider Dods network, expedited the coordination of other logistics for the Programme.


The Programme was very well-received, with all participants saying their objectives had been met and that the trainer and overall Programme and materials were “good” or “excellent”, the two highest available ratings.

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