By Nick Butler

Rio 2016 has signed an agreement with Education First to help provide language services to children ©Rio 2016March 13 - An agreement has been reached between Rio 2016 and Education First to train over one million Brazilians in a second language ahead of the Games.

As the official supplier of language training for the Games, Education First, an international for-profit organisation who work all over the world, will provide a training programme which will be integrated into the Rio 2016 education and culture programme.

For the general Brazilian public, a website will offer a basic English course and also provide information about the Games, while the programme will also help prepare the Games volunteers by offering a one-year course. 

From 2015, language training will be delivered to candidates for the Rio 2016 volunteer programme, as well as Organising Committee staff and contractors, and Brazilian school children.

This focus on legacy means that all candidates for the Rio 2016 volunteer programme - not only those who are selected - will be trained in a second language principally consisting of English, Spanish or French.

As well as creating a further Olympic legacy at a time when there is some discontent with the Games plans in Brazil, the agreement also builds upon Education First's long association with the Olympic Games stretching back to Seoul 1988.

More recently the company was official language supplier to the Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014 Games - and it is the this experience and their focus on legacy and the needs of the Brazilian people which made them the ideal choice of the Organising Committee.

The agreement was signed at the Rio 2016 offices ©Rio 2016/Alex FerroThe agreement was signed at the Rio 2016 offices ©Rio 2016

Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman claimed "we are very pleased to partner with the expertise and experience of Education First, to fulfil our common goal of creating a lasting legacy for language learning in Brazil."

He added: "This programme will provide many thousands of volunteers and staff involved with the Rio 2016 Games with the language skills necessary to warmly welcome athletes and visitors from all around the world.

"The skills will also benefit these individuals in their future lives and careers, providing a positive contribution to society well beyond 2016."

Similar enthuasiasm was conveyed by Education First - with co-chairman Philip Hult claiming they "are enormously proud to be the official language training services supplier to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

"With a shared mission in promoting international friendship and exchange, Education First has a strong background in supporting the Olympics.

"As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are committed to helping stage the most successful Games ever."

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