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Education Initiative Gives Students A Taste Of Work At The Airport

30 Oct 2009

Schoolchildren from across Bishop’s Stortford are this week experiencing working life at Stansted Airport as part of an £85,000 BAA community education and employment initiative.

The award winning Stansted Insight Programme is a partnership between BAA Stansted and HEEP, the Harlow Education and Employment Partnership, aimed at attracting young people into careers at the airport.

Two successful pilot schemes, in November last year and February 2009, paved the way for the first programme involving students from two Bishop’s Stortford schools – The Bishops Stortford Boys High School and Herts and Essex High School.

The Year Eleven students will spend a week at the airport following a one-day induction covering basics such as an overview and history of the airport, customer service, fire and security training.

Over the next four days they will work in various businesses across the airport, experiencing a different workplace each day.

On their return to school they will take part in an evaluation with HEEP staff to gauge the benefits of the week and whether their perception of employment at the airport has changed.

“We had some excellent successes on the pilot scheme,” said Ellena Mould, HEEP project manager, “it really boosted the students’ confidence and aspirations. Some started off with no idea of what employment opportunities existed at the airport and finished up with more confidence in considering a career at Stansted and what qualifications they needed to achieve it.

“Many think the only jobs at an airport are working for the airlines, but there is a whole raft of job opportunities within the 180 businesses on site.”

The two earlier pilot schemes supported four Harlow secondary schools with Stansted staff giving work experience talks at parents’ evenings, taking part in the Diploma Development Board, and supporting educators in designing the delivery of a new suite of qualifications.

The initiative led to Stansted receiving a highly commended award from East of England Business in the Community for the Most Innovative New Programme.

Ashley Riley, Head of Communications at Stansted said: “Young people in our region are the future workforce of our airport. We wanted to develop an alternative 'work related' activity that would provide real value and benefit for the years ahead, whilst demonstrating the variety of roles that exist at a busy international airport, both within our own organisation and within the other businesses that trade from the airport.

“By the end of the week the students will have gained new practical skills and experience in a variety of careers, as well as receiving official certificates in recognition for their work in areas such as health and safety training, fire training, customer service and confidence building.”