We’ve written here before about how important it is to develop young talent across the region to come and work in our businesses. At Gatwick, we have made it our mission to help the next generation by offering a series of opportunities for young people so that they can develop new skills, no matter what their background.
One aspect of our programme is to ‘Inform’ students about the wide range of careers available to them by giving them the information they need and by raising their aspirations.
Our Learn Live broadcasts, for example, focus on careers at the airport and let local students tune in to online broadcasts where they can hear from and put questions to our technical experts, including air traffic controllers, meteorologists and airfield specialists.
Recently we applied rocket boosters to the Learn Live concept and took it one step further by presenting in a live ‘Top Gear-style’ studio Q&A with past and former apprentices from the aviation industry. The take up was extraordinary and over 42,000 school children ‘patched in’ from over 460 schools across the UK, including large numbers from across the South East.
Like the smaller scale Learn Live events, this real-time broadcast was designed to inspire young people to consider a career in aviation and was timed to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week.
Oakwood School, in Horley, were kind enough to host the event and questions from both the studio audience and from classrooms across the country were put to easyJet’s first apprentice cabin crew member and a Border Force employee who completed an apprenticeship.
The live broadcast also ‘patched in’ to two Gatwick engineering apprentices standing beside the runway, while telling the viewers about what inspired them to become an apprentice at the world’s most efficient single runway airport. Apprenticeships, and the process of applying for them, was a common theme of questioning from the young people taking part.
As an airport, our ability to make a real difference to the lives of young people is greatly enhanced by working closely with a wide range of partners, including local schools, colleges, local authorities, charities and a host of other community-based projects.
The Aviation Live event was organised in partnership with Learn Live – an organisation that brings live learning into the classroom – in a partnership specifically designed to encourage young people to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related-careers.
The event is only one part of Gatwick’s Education Employment and Skills programme, which also includes airport roadshows and specialist training for teachers designed to encourage local children to take STEM subjects by demonstrating their relevance to a wide range of careers at the airport and further afield.
Our broader community engagement programme has a range of other elements, including the Gatwick Foundation Fund which has so far provided over £1 million of grants to projects that generate meaningful and lasting impacts on the young, elderly and other local vulnerable groups.
By delivering £2.7 billion of economic activity and 71,000 jobs, Gatwick is the region’s single biggest driver of economic growth and sharing these benefits as widely as possible across our local communities is the right thing to do.
The airport supports one in twelve jobs across the Gatwick Diamond area, but this success cannot be taken for granted. We know that every effort must be made to create the right environment and opportunities for growth, on the airport and across wider region, and that includes developing the education and skills needed by the next generation.