From education to employment

Prize awarded for inspiring students and demonstrating relevance of lanaguage skills.

Camira Fabrics with King James High School in Huddersfield have been named Business Language Champion Partnership of the Year 2006-2007. The prize, awarded for inspiring students and demonstrating the real life relevance of language skills, was announced at the National Education Business Partnership Network annual conference in London on Monday 3 December.

The Business Languages Champions scheme, run by CILT through the Regional Language Networks (RLN) and supported by the Department for Children, Schools and Family (DCSF), aims to highlight the growing need for language skills in the UK and inspire companies to actively engage in partnerships with local schools and colleges with a focus on language learning.

Camira Fabrics, working in the global interiors market, were praised for their sessions with students using language-learning materials developed from authentic company documents. With the support of RLN Yorkshire & The Humber, the company also worked with four other local schools during the year, promoting the importance of languages in business to over 600 students.

The Novotel Hotel group has also played a significant role, with two hotels in the chain highly commended by the judges. Novotel London Heathrow worked with Brentford High School for Girls. The hotel drew on their staff’s language skills, encouraging over 100 Year 10 students to practise napkin folding in Greek and Panjabi, bed making in Filipino and a mock job-application in French. As a result two students went on to gain a two-week work experience placement at the hotel.

Novotel York was partnered with Selby High School. The hotel welcomed Year 9 students for a day of job-shadowing and role-play activities in French, including a gourmet lunch. This was followed up in school with discussions and presentations on the importance of languages at work, leading to an increased take-up of languages for next year. In addition, Novotel sponsored two language trophies for French and German to be awarded annually at the school.

Isabella Moore, Chief Executive of CILT, the National Centre for Languages said: “The Business Language Champions scheme is a fantastic way of demonstrating to young people that languages improve employability as well as opening their eyes to local career opportunities.”

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