St John’s School and Sixth Form, A Catholic Academy, boosts international employment skills

Monday, 23rd April 2018

St John’s School and Sixth Form, A Catholic Academy, boosts international employment skills

SENIOR Spanish officials have given their seal of approval to a school’s languages initiative

SENIOR Spanish officials have given their seal of approval to a school’s languages initiative that is helping boost international employment skills throughout Europe.

Students at St John’s School and Sixth Form, A Catholic Academy, Bishop Auckland, welcomed the Ambassador for Spain to the UK Carlos Bastarrech and the Minister for Education for Spain in the UK Gonzalo Capellán to see the results of their work on the Pathways to Employment project funded by the European Union.

Head of modern foreign languages at St John’s Phill Robertson is leading the initiative alongside teaching staff from the Hijas de Cristo Rey School, Olieros, A Courña, Spain, after securing a bid for over 50,000 Euros.

“The idea of the Pathways to Employment scheme is to create a business lexicon, in English and Spanish, to enable students to pursue language-based employment in both countries,” he said.

“We teach modern languages in school and our students do extremely well, but this doesn’t necessarily give them the ability to then translate those skills in a business environment.”

Ten talented students from Hijas de Cristo Rey School, with teachers Isaura Villarino and Valentin Soto, spent the week with pupils from St John’s undertaking work experience in curatorial and visitor services, adult learning engagement, marketing and communications and parks and gardens with The Auckland Project.

Students were also given the opportunity to take part in mock job interviews, as well as visit the town’s mining gallery, go behind the scenes at Kynren and view the portraits of Jacob and his Twelve Sons, painted by Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán, in Auckland Castle.

“Both UK and Spanish students have begun the process of creating business language resources to not only gain future employment in both countries, but also to learn the differences between interview techniques, job adverts, and CVs in both partner countries from a business context,” said Mr Robertson.

“Our pupils will be travelling to A Courña, in Spain next week on a reciprocal visit where they will be given an insight into the Spanish workplace with one of the world’s largest fashion retailers Inditex, which owns high street stores Zara, Triston and Pull and Bear.”

Funding secured by The European Union will enable students to continue to take part in the Pathways to Employment until September 2019, with the projects legacy allowing many more students in both regions the opportunity to use the resources created and in turn improve their own employability as a dual linguist.

Languages teacher Isaura Villarino, of Hijas de Cristo Rey School, said: “Our students have had an incredible time, interacting with staff and students, and I have already seen an improvement in their language skills with some of them even picking up a North-East accent.”

Biology teacher Valentin Soto added: “Having such an important delegation come to find out about our project is a great honour and will also help to raise the profile of our school and all of the other Hijas de Cristo schools around the world.”