SCHOOLS across the region had the challenge of pitching business ideas in a foreign language as part of a space themed learning day.

Working alongside astrophysicists from Durham University, Year 10 pupils learned about zero gravity orbits and were tasked with both building a prototype of an international space hotel and then pitching for funds from French and Spanish speaking investors.

Participating schools included Dene Academy, Seaham High, Sedgefield Community College and Teesdale School and Sixth Form.

Pupils worked in teams to develop ideas based on scientific knowledge and were inspired by the day’s speaker, Dr Azadeh Fattahi, a member of Durham University’s Institute for computational cosmology.

Durham County Council’s International Relations team and Business Durham organised the day to demonstrate how a knowledge of languages and science are used in the world of work.

The day was led by Business Language Champions with support from Durham University.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “This event has been a fantastic chance for the young people to practise their language skills in a fun and engaging way.

“It’s also demonstrated the important role languages can play in real life business situations and the future career opportunities that they could open up for young people.”

Dr Azadeh Fattahi, from Durham University’s Institute for Computational Cosmology, said: “Right across our Science Outreach programme here at Durham University, our aim is to stimulate interest in science and help people understand how it applies to our everyday lives and what exciting careers are available in science.

“The young people at the Space Challenge event had some great ideas and great enthusiasm.

“Who knows, maybe some of them will be the scientists and innovators of tomorrow?”