Harlow College set to reach for the sky with new set of Aviation Ambassadors

Education: Secondary / Wed 17th Jan 2024 at 08:00am

FROM a TikTok influencer to an Air Cadet commander, ten new Aviation Ambassadors announced to encourage the next generation into the world of aviation.

Latest winners of the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund announced, giving £750,000 to inspire and help educate young people on the opportunities within aviation.

Harlow College is among the recipients.

They been selected as one of ten schemes to receive funding from the Department for Transport‘s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund. The funding will be used to create a virtual environment developed in partnership with Metaverse Hub that offers interactive information on career pathways leading to work in the aviation industry.

Karen Spencer, Principal and CEO of Harlow College said, “We see real benefit in colleges working together to ensure their curriculum is of the highest standard and is properly aligned to the industry’s needs.

“Through the College Aviation Network, we will develop, with employer endorsement, career pathways in Aviation Operations and Aircraft Maintenance Engineering that present clearer training routes for individuals looking to work in the industry.”

With a lineup ranging from a TikTok influencer who specialises in showing life behind-the-scenes at Heathrow Airport, to a seasoned Air Cadet commander with over a decade’s experience and a private pilot license – the new ambassadors have been selected to inspire and guide the next generation of aviators.

As the sector continues to grow following the pandemic, having a young and diverse workforce that can embrace and adapt to new challenges – whether that be new technologies, cleaner travel or emerging trends – will ensure the UK is at the cutting edge of the aviation industry.

Over the next two years the ambassadors will serve as mentors and advocates, attending schools, mentoring events and workshop to showcase their experience and encourage young people to use their skills in aviation. As well as delivering their own bespoke outreach activities to underrepresented groups, the ambassadors will also offer advice on where pathways into aviation can be created or improved – making it easier for young people to join the sector.

Aviation Minister Anthony Browne said:

“As the aviation industry evolves, these new Aviation Ambassadors will shine a light on this rewarding sector, attracting talented individuals who might otherwise miss their opportunity.

“These Ambassadors will help to attract even more innovation and creativity to the industry, showcasing the opportunities available in this exciting new era of new technology and decarbonisation.”

One of the new ambassadors is Alice Goodwin, a design and development engineer at Virgin Atlantic with a passion for STEM and ambitions to become a chartered engineer. With a unique role in avionics and extensive outreach experience, she is a mentor to young people at four substantial aviation charities supporting people of colour to take up aviation careers.

Alice said:

“Aviation engineering is a dynamic and interesting industry, full of passionate and inspiring individuals. I am really looking forward to being an ambassador and having the platform to showcase the amazing opportunities available in our industry to young people.”

To further inspire the next generation of aviation professionals, ten schemes at the forefront of inspiring and engaging young people have been awarded a share of £750,000 from the next round of the Government’s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund.

For those who have previously struggled to get a foothold in the industry, the aim of the fund is to dismantle barriers and target schemes that serve as entry points for many, supporting individuals from underprivileged backgrounds or under-represented groups – creating a more inclusive and accessible pathway into the exciting world of aviation.

Winners of this round’s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund include Flight Crowd, a non-for-profit organisation providing aviation bootcamps throughout the country to give hundreds of people opportunities to learn and connect with the industry, and London City Airport, that offers multiple STEM workshops and events on business mentoring and skills.

Mariya Tarabanovska, founder of Flight Crowd said:

“We are thrilled to announce the expansion of our ‘Propel into Future Flight’ programme to new horizons, thanks to the generous support from the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund for the second consecutive year.

The enthusiasm and engagement we’ve witnessed from communities across the UK during our boot camps have been truly inspiring. Empowering young minds with the skills and knowledge essential for shaping the future of Aviation remains at the core of our mission, and with this continued funding, we are excited to reach even more locations and diverse backgrounds.”

This financial support represents an important step in the Government’s goal to support the industry’s efforts to build a skilled, diverse, and passionate workforce for the future – helping boost the economy and keep the UK at the forefront of global aviation.

Organisations meeting the criteria for the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund were able to apply for a share of £750,000, with funding decisions agreed by a joint panel of the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority – which administers the fund on DfT’s behalf.

Both the Aviation Ambassadors and Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund are cornerstones of Generation Aviation – an ambitious Government-industry programme dedicated to raising profiles of different aviation careers, removing barriers and attracting diverse and talented people so we can unleash the full potential of the sector.

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