St Helens College is to teach Mandarin lessons to students in a unique ten-week course.
The language, spoken by the vast majority of China’s population, will be taught to travel and tourism students.
College bosses say the move is a reflection of the growing importance of China to the tourism industry.
The scheme is a joint project between the University of Liverpool, Xi’an Jiaotong University and the Office of Chinese Language Council International.
It aims to promote Chinese language and culture amongst British schools and colleges, local businesses, community groups and individuals.
Students will be taught two hours per week by Dr. Sun, who has specialised in neurological science for over twenty years in China but who now lecturers at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology
She said: “It is important for young British people to learn Mandarin because it can help them to secure employment not only in China and in the UK, but in a range of other countries too.
“These may include Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand, but also others. Like the English language, Mandarin is also a world language, and can be used to bridge communication barriers between other languages.
“I hope my students not only take away Mandarin language skills, but also an understanding of the Chinese culture. China has a beautiful history, philosophies, art, nature and natural medicines.
“I hope that young people from the East and the West can come to understand each other. Language is the best way to do this, to exchange thoughts, messages and stories.”
Level 3 extended diploma in travel and tourism student, Ellie O’Neill, said, “The Mandarin Classes are brilliant. I find learning this language really useful. Having basic Mandarin language skills will help to make me a competitive candidate for future jobs.
“I will also be able to help and understand others in my future job role, which could potentially take me
around the world.”
Tutor of the level 3 extended diploma in travel and tourism, Vicki Aspinall, added: “It is my role to ensure that the students’ experience whilst at College has been supportive of their future careers and aspirations.
“Chinese tourism in Liverpool has really grown recently and with the growth of the Visitor Economy locally there are an abundance of job opportunities.
“These lessons will help our students to become more familiar with a broader range of global cultures to help them prepare for the world of work in the travel and tourism industries.”