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Furloughed Eurostar workers helping language students during school closures

UK News | Published:

Train drivers are among the staff who are hosting online sessions to help pupils maintain their skills while studying at home.

Eurostar train and worker

Dozens of French-speaking Eurostar employees are supporting language students while being furloughed due to the collapse in demand for international travel.

Workers normally carrying out roles as train drivers or in customer service, marketing, operations and finance are among those hosting online sessions for pupils during school closures.

The scheme is aimed at improving students’ confidence in French conversation and maintaining their skills while they study at home.

The participants are from three schools close to Eurostar’s north-east London depot and its London station St Pancras International.

David Dogue, a French teacher at Sir George Monoux College, Walthamstow, said: “This project with Eurostar has enabled my A-level students to develop their language skills in a rewarding way by joining conversations with native French speakers.

“The opportunity to speak with someone from outside the school helps boost their confidence whilst they are dealing with the challenges of having to study from home.”

Eurostar director of communications Mary Walsh said: “This initiative brings together the language skills of our teams, with students who may not have access to French speakers at home.

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“It’s a great opportunity for our colleagues to support the local community and help build the confidence of French students.”

The Eurostar employees involved are volunteering while part of the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

The pandemic has led to a sharp dip in passenger numbers, with Eurostar operating only a handful of trains each day.

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