Gary LinekerSporting personality, Gary Lineker, has been promoting the benefits of learning foreign languages. Having learned Spanish after he was assigned to play football for Barcelona FC in 1986, he understands only too well the importance that foreign languages have in people’s lives.

Last month was the European Day of Languages and, in celebration of this, 11 schools in England and Scotland were given the opportunity to improve their linguistic capabilities by being awarded new language training resources. Keen to get involved, Gary Lineker visited one of these secondary schools to interact with the kids and to take part in the discussions there which were based on the necessity for increased language learning in schools.

Most schools across the UK are multinational, with many pupils speaking different languages at home, so why not promote language learning in schools? Technology makes learning more fun and interesting for kids, and schools have many technological resources at their fingertips that their pupils can take advantage of. The new language software awarded to the schools will give the pupils the ability to study using devices such as laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Other sports personalities are also quick to highlight the benefits of being able to speak foreign languages. Olympic medalist, Tom Daly, studied Spanish to A-level and is able to conduct interviews in Spanish, just as Chris Froome conducts interviews for the Tour de France in French. Paula Radcliffe, the world marathon record holder, finds her fluency in French and German very useful for international events. Ellen MacArthur used her knowledge of French to help gain sponsorship for her round-the-world sailing trip. Having role models like these is a great way for pupils to be inspired to learn new languages and to understand the importance of languages for their futures.

Who or what inspired you to learn a language and how has it helped you in your career or lifestyle?