Aquila Nuclear Engineering

Vici Programme: 1:1 Language Coaching

As the CEO of Aquila nuclear engineering, Dave Barker needed to learn french to work closely with a division of the company in France and here he explains his journey with VICI Language Dynamics.

Why did you come to VICI Language Dynamics?

“I heard about VICI through a referral from a business acquaintance and they recommended I speak to them; I got them to come down to the Aquila offices in Winchester and they delivered a presentation on how they could help us, which was good and convinced us.”

How is VICI Language Dynamics helping you?

“We are working with VICI to help Aquila and I am like the guinea pig and then when the business is in the right position we are going to roll it out to other staff. Looking to the future we will be putting in the budget in the new financial year to get the rest of the team on board learning French with VICI.”

“I have just booked another 30 lessons after learning it over the past eight months. I had learned a little before and spoke a tiny bit, but picked it up and dropped it. This time I have decided to take it more seriously but I’m definitely still a beginner.”

What are your future plans?

“Aquila is a British company with a division in South West Paris which is why we need to speak French and already I’m using the odd sentence here and there and I’m writing a few basic emails to set up business meetings and asking people how they are. Of course any serious business is still in English for the time being. You get a very good response when you do use French and that is one of the reasons we are doing it; staff like that you’ve made the effort.”

“We would roll it out to the managers next, some three or four people who would follow the same approach as me. We do like the flexibility to choose what fits in with my role at Aquila. For example I do find I can be called away at short notice to a bid review with clients, so I have to be able to change it if I can and VICI appreciates that. However if someone gives me less than 24 hours’ notice then I stick with the French lesson!”

What has VICI Language Dynamics done for you and how is it different?

“Personally I’ve also benefitted; recently I visited Marseilles to visit a friend there and I was able to string a few sentences together which was rewarding.”

“My lessons are one-to-one and I think they are very good and very different to the model I’ve used before. We use children’s games for example to learn different techniques, listening to CDs and more. I’m in there for an hour and it just flies by.”

“I think if you start with the personnel there they are very personable, flexible and offer very good value for money. The type of learning is refreshing as far as I’m concerned it is not just reading a book and disappearing for a week or two and then coming back with your homework. They use different tools to help you learn and the environment is excellent too.”

“I’ve tried learning before in the office and you have your head down and resent the intrusion, when I head out to VICI, which is just up the A34; you treat it more like a proper business meeting and you prepare accordingly. I don’t think I should be different to anybody else either and our managers should have the same choice as me to learn French at VICI Language Dynamics.”

Would you recommend VICI Language Dynamics?

“I would very much recommend VICI; I was with another tutor for three weeks before I met VICI and I just threw the towel in, it was a different style completely and the introduction to Nathalie and her team was fortuitous and I thought we should give it a go and that was definitely the right decision for me and for Aquila.”