Staff and Learners of Beacon Hill Academy, Sedgley, the Academy of English in Oldenburg, Germany as well as pilot from the Motorfluggruppe Wilhelmshaven at the Jade Weser Airport, Mariensiel, Germany Photo by Manfred Lehmann

Staff and Learners of Beacon Hill Academy, Sedgley, the Academy of English in Oldenburg, Germany as well as pilot from the Motorfluggruppe Wilhelmshaven at the Jade Weser Airport, Mariensiel, Germany
Photo by Manfred Lehmann

Learners from Beacon Hill Academy do work experience in Germany and fly planes to the East Frisian Islands

For the second year in a row, 15-year-old Learners from Beacon Hill Academy Gifted and Talented programme have visited the German town of Oldenburg for their work experience. Learners spent a week working in a range of German companies, including a newly opened hotel, media consultancy, IT software company, a grammar school as well as in an Oldenburg hospital.

The work experience programme is a joint initiative between Beacon Hill Academy and its partner institution in Germany, The Academy of English. Not only does the Academy organize the work placements; it also arranges Learners to stay with German families as well as a range of event to familiarise Learners with life in Oldenburg.

The highlight of the trip was a surprise work experience team-building exercise, known in German as a Betriebsausflug. The Academy of English hired three light aircraft from the Motorfluggruppe Wilhelmshaven and flew the Learners to the East Frisian island of Wangerooge for a day trip. Some of the lucky Learners and supervisors got to sit at the controls of the plane. 15-year-old Chloe Walker from Beacon Hill Academy said: “it was the best experience of my life.”

For Lead Coordinator from Beacon Hill Academy, Alix Billing, the flying experience rated as one of the best among the Learners during their time in Germany. “It was a fantastic opportunity for the Learners to be at the control of the aeroplanes, but also to get a feel for the work skills required to be a pilot.”

Director of Studies of the Academy of English, Dr. John Goodyear, praised the 15-year-old Learners for taking “everything in their stride – from the work placements to the flying”. Goodyear, originally from the Black Country, added that it was important for him to give local kids “international experience in Germany so that they have a cutting-edge later on in life.”

The next exchange will take place in October with German Learners visiting the Beacon Hill Academy in the context of the World War One centenary. The trip will get underway with a service of Remembrance and Reconciliation at the German War Cemetery in Cannock Chase, bringing together German and British Learners as well as the Royal British Legion, to remember the loss of family, friends and relatives on both sides of the conflict.