Cathay Pacific celebrates ‘English On Air’ programme

Guest Writer

16 January 2010: Cathay Pacific Airways held a special event at its corporate headquarters, Cathay Pacific City, today to highlight the work being done through its “English on Air” programme, which helps students from Tung Chung boost their skills in conversational English.

Cathay Pacific Chief Operating Officer John Slosar and Secretary for Education Mr Michael Suen officiated at the event, at which more than 80 students from six secondary schools in the airport satellite town engaged in English-language conversations with the airline’s pilots and staff volunteers.

“English on Air” was launched in late 2007 with the aim of helping local students improve their conversational English and, at the same time, inspire them to forge a career within the dynamic aviation industry in Hong Kong. In the two years the programme has run, around 700 secondary school students have been invited to meet and chat with pilots and staff volunteers at Cathay City. All seven secondary schools in Tung Chung have already benefited from “English on Air”.

In view of the positive response to the programme, the airline has expanded the “English on Air” format to include sessions catering for secondary school students of different age groups, with mock interview sessions for soon-to-graduate students and interactive games for the more junior students.

Speaking at the event, Mr Slosar said: “English is an international language that connects people to the world. It is also the international language for aviation, and those young people who have dreams of joining the industry - whether as a pilot, a flight attendant or an engineer - will need to speak the language well. ‘English on Air’ provides a very good platform for students to improve their spoken English with native speakers drawn from our staff volunteers.”

Mr Michael Suen said: “We live in an international metropolis and no other language is able to transcend as many races, nations and cultures as English. Through ‘English on Air’, the students can put into use the English they have already learned at school. It’s a language that lives inside them but, like all living things on earth, without proper care and nutrients it will degenerate. I encourage all students to nurture their English through frequent, and consistent, usage and practice.”

Dr Chung, Principal of Wong Cho Bau Secondary School in Tung Chung, said: “The programme has given our students the opportunity to engage and interact with professionals from a world class, industry-leading company. Cathay Pacific has showcased how large, globally engaged companies can connect with the local communities in which they operate.”

Cathay Pacific’s corporate social responsibility efforts recognise the airline’s commitment to its Hong Kong home and in particular to helping young people reach for their dreams. The airline was recently presented with a “Merit Honour in Highest Service Hours Award 2008” from the Social Welfare Department and was also awarded the “5-year plus Caring Company Logo” by the Hong Kong Council of Social Services for the third time in 2009.

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