By Sarah Schechter, Routes into Languages East
With the relationship between business and education increasingly under the media spotlight, Coca-Cola Enterprises’ (CCE) established, highly acclaimed, award-winning education programme provides a positive case study of how business investment in education can achieve real benefits for all involved. This year, together with Coca Cola, Routes into Languages East piloted a modern foreign language version of the RBC. Their involvement with Routes East was predicated on the fact that languages are a great asset when looking for a job and, in this respect, supporting schools with teaching and encouraging the uptake of modern languages fits with the overall objective of the programme – to increase employability and enterprise skills in the learners taking part. Linked to the curriculum, the project challenges students to work in teams to tackle a business. It is work-related learning at its most engaging and provides an opportunity for students in Years 9 and 10 to develop enterprise skills that will give them a competitive edge in today’s job market. The RBC is designed to help students develop and demonstrate enterprise skills and in particular to develop teamwork, problem-solving, creative thinking, leadership, financial capability and business acumen.
The brief was for students to form teams (or small “companies”) to develop a juice brand that took inspiration from one of the nations competing in the Special Olympics World Games in 2015 where French, Spanish or German is spoken. Following extensive research they had to present their idea on PowerPoint using no more than 10 slides, with all work submitted in the target language.
The drink had to be a healthy juice brand with fruits and/or vegetables as the key ingredients, together with vitamins, mineral water and spices. They had to take inspiration from the culture of a country competing in the Special Olympics World Games (i.e. evident in everything from the ingredients used to the brand name and packaging design). A degree of research into a particular culture was also necessary, with evidence of market research included in the presentation. Students had to think about the nutrients in their ingredients and to work out the contribution their drink’s nutrients make to the GDAs (Guide Daily Amounts).
Once the team had agreed what type of drink they were developing as well as a brand name, they had to allocate key roles to the team with different people responsible for logo design, slogan, packaging design and labeling and promotion. They had to agree on price, cost and profit and come to a group decision to agree a price point for their product. They were asked for 900,000 litres in 500ml containers. The cost per container had to fall between 35p and 80p (if it came to more or less than this, students were either using too many or too few ingredients!). Supported by a Teacher’s Pack, students had to put together a presentation of their drink idea, which clearly answered the brief and incorporated all their ideas. It had to give an overview of the juice brand, a company profile slide, ingredients sheet slide, label illustration slide and cost, price and profit sheet information.
Following wonderful entries for the Routes into Languages East Coca Cola Real Business Languages Challenge 2014/5 the two winning schools chose very different prizes. The teams were
Wunderwasser from Team Vitalität (Minhaj Ahmed, Daniel Mitton, Liam Tharme, Sebastian di Siena, Daniel Newsham) from St Ivo School
Renenstark (Emily Williams, Isabel Green, Emma Tuinema, Stella MacDougall, Charlotte Shaw, Emily Noithip) from Berkhamsted School
St Ivo School chose a school visit for around 40 students and Berkhamsted chose a factory visit.
Coca Cola Enterprises manufactures, sells and distributes over 80 different soft drink products across Great Britain, employing around 4,000 people, and is therefore able to offer students a unique insight into the demands of a UK manufacturing business.
The school visit on 8th May was a huge success, with Bill Muirhead, Senior Manager of Coca Cola Enterprises Education Programme totally engaging the students with an interactive talk and quiz about Coca Cola, before his colleague, Florence Kuentz, spoke about her work at Coca Cola and the hugely important role her languages play in that role. Routes into Languages East Student Language Ambassador, Jessi Happle, a Tourism undergraduate from Germany, completing a year of her degree at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge then talked about the difference being multilingual has made to her life. Finally the students were given a live language challenge to complete with prizes for the winning team. Head of Languages, James Murphy said
“It was fantastic to be visited by Coca-Cola and for our students to hear at first hand how essential languages are in the workplace. Pupils really enjoyed the session and it illustrated how having a language at GCSE can make you more employable.” and Year 9 student, Eva added “I enjoyed having to come up with a unique product and using my German to create the poster.”
Later in the month a small group from Berkhamsted School made their way to Milton Keynes for their prize of a tour of a Coca Cola factory. The format of the afternoon was similar to the school visit, with a colleague from Sweden providing the insights into using languages in her work and Anglia Ruskin University Student Language Ambassadors, Maike Hankel, an International Business student from Germany, who speaks fluent German, French and English and Sinan Acar an International Management student with fluent German, Turkish, Spanish and English and accompanying German teacher, Joanna Wordie and Routes East Project Manager, Sarah Schechter involved in a ‘language speed-dating’ session with the students. This was followed by a fascinating tour of the factory, as we watched the familiar cans being filled, packaged and dispatched. The visit ended with a live language challenge with the students presenting their ideas in German. The visit was a huge success, with extremely positive feedback from the students:
“I really enjoyed my visit and it has encouraged me to continue with languages in the future.”
“I didn’t know about grad schemes beforehand, but now I am considering doing one after uni.”
“It was a great experience chatting to the German speakers and it has really encouraged me to think about languages at A Level.”
Congratulations to all the winners and their teachers, Jane Moore from St Ivo School and Beth Irving from Berkhamsted School and huge thanks to Bill Muirhead and all his colleagues at Coca Cola Enterprises.