So, the #DitichingThePlastic hiatus continues for another 7 days (sorry!) but as was the case last week, this week I've been volunteering again and want to share a few thoughts about it all. However, while I had my general volunteer hat on last time, yesterday's adventures were a little more specific.
I've been volunteering with Business Language Champions ever since I returned to my home stomping ground in the East Midlands four and a half years ago. The charity, spearheaded by the wonderful Sally Fagan, aims to bring schools and businesses together to promote languages and cultural understanding. In other words, right up my street. In a world that is becoming ever more globalised, there is a common misconception that English reigns supreme and that UK students don't need to learn a foreign language. This is where BLC comes in: the team behind the scenes works tirelessly to devise fabulous whole-day events for school children from year 7 right through to year 13 that seamlessly interweave languages and another field.
I help at as many events as I can and they are always well-organised and thoroughly enjoyable. The challenges are based on a wide range of fields, including the music industry, journalism, sport, science, outer space, the Olympic games, marketing and fashion to name but a few. But my favourite one of all is run in conjunction with GCHQ and gives students an opportunity to see what it's like to work at one of the UK's intelligence services.
Throughout the day, teams of students must complete a series of tasks and activities – including language taster sessions in some of the more obscure languages needed by GCHQ and code-breaking – before presenting their findings to an international panel of experts in a foreign language. Who will shine on the day to solve this serious international crime?
Now, while last week I encouraged everyone to sign up with Inspiring the Future (you've all done so, right?), Sally really needs more volunteers to help her run these events. Can you speak a foreign language? Do you travel or work internationally? If so, please do get in touch. No preparation is required and it doesn't matter if your language skills are a little rusty - the students are simply keen to find out how languages can merge with other careers. So if you're based in the East Midlands or West Midlands in particular, please do drop Sally an email to find out more. You won't regret it, I promise!