There's a brand new work experience scheme about to start in World Service Languages. It's called Future Voices and the aim is to get people in the UK who speak and write two languages fluently through the doors of BBC News to find out what it's like to work here. We're searching for the bilingual talent of the future.
Bilingual reporting is well established in BBC News, with World Service Languages having led the way. There are currently around 40bilingual correspondents working all over the world, some of whom are becoming as familiar to UK audiences as they are to our international ones. Reporters like BBC Africa correspondent Tomi Oladipo (pictured reporting from Nigeria), Anne Soy in Nairobi or BBC Arabic's Rami Ruhayem report adeptly and perceptively in English and another language, telling the same story but adapting it in terms of relevance, context and understanding for each audience.
Now we're looking for talented, enthusiastic people who are passionate about reporting on international news to take advantage of our Future Voices scheme. It's open to anyone based in the UK who is over 18 and totally bilingual in English and another of the other 28 languages of the BBC World Service.
The level of language skills we're looking for is very high. Successful candidates will join us at New Broadcasting House (NBH) for a month and work in the language service relevant to them, as well as spending time with teams across the rest of BBC News and in training - getting to know audiences. The scheme is expected to run up to three times a year, for a month each time. The very first course is running for the whole of March, with the second planned for June/July.
The aim is that by the end of the month all the trainees will have a good understanding of how World Service Languages and the rest of BBC News work. They'll have gained insight into our global audience - the 265 million people around the world who access the BBC each week - as well as our UK audience, which is a key issue for bilingual reporters.
World Service Languages provides audiences with news online, via mobile, social media, radio, and TV. And the range is huge: from well-established BBC Arabic, serving audiences across all platforms 24 hours a day, to the latest short TV bulletin programmes from BBC Hausa and BBC Urdu, distributed through partner stations.
We want to open this scheme out as widely as possible to attract talented people with excellent language skills who might not have thought about applying to the BBC before, and might know little about the organisation. So we've intentionally made the application process as straightforward and accessible as possible.
Candidates have to be UK-based, 18 or over, truly bilingual, and show a keen interest in international news. For those who live outside London, we'll provide accommodation and expenses to enable them to come to NBH for the scheme.
Successful Future Voices trainees will have a mentor to guide them through the month; they'll have intensive training in online, TV and radio; and they'll have the chance to make a short video on a subject they're interested in. This is a great opportunity to experience what it's like to work in BBC World Service Languages, from the inside.
Closing date for applications to the March scheme is 15 February.