Arriva bus drivers in Chester and Merseyside are greeting Spanish passengers in their own language after completing special training courtesy of West Cheshire College.
The bus drivers expressed an interest in learning Spanish to increase their confidence in speaking to foreign visitors ahead of next years Liverpool 08 Capital of Culture celebrations, said West Cheshire College language tutor,Pauline Ceballos.
The region already has an increasing number of visitors, but this is likely to double next year when the European Capital of Culture celebrations get underway in Liverpool.
She added: “Undertaking a course of this nature will help drivers communicate with foreign passengers. It will also be a great benefit to them when they travel abroad on holiday.”
The training was delivered on-site to bus drivers at Arrivas Laird Street depot in Birkenhead; with drivers studying the course two days a week in between shifts.
Rob Cheveaux, general manager at Arrivas Runcorn garage commented, “We are delighted with the training provided by West Cheshire College, which has given a real boost to drivers confidence in speaking to foreign visitors and was delivered successfully to fit in around their shift patterns.”
West Cheshire College is encouraging others to take up a new language to mark European Day of Languages. A Council of Europe initiative, the event is held annually to celebrate language and cultural diversity, while encouraging lifelong language learning.
Nicola Oldfield, Programme Leader in Languages at West Cheshire College, added, “We will be starting all our new language courses from 4 September and we want to celebrate by encouraging people to enroll on a languages course and start learning in the week of European Languages Day so that they can really feel they are a part of Europe.
Language courses on offer at West Cheshire College include:French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Greek and Portuguese, withJapanese, Turkish, Arabic and Mandarin being offered from January 2008.
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