A new skills programme to promote careers in the aviation industry to under-represented groups has been unveiled by the Aviation Minister, Paul Maynard.
The programme, Reach for the Sky, is aimed primarily at young people from under-represented groups and will be delivered through partnerships with industry, expert bodies and educational establishments, and is aimed at helping to make the UK the best place to follow a career in aviation.
‘Reach for the Sky’ will consist of a series of activities and events that aim to raise the profile of aviation, create new and improved career pathways, and ensure skills and training programmes are more accessible to people of all backgrounds.
The programme launches with a call to industry to improve awareness of the opportunities in the aviation industry through new apprenticeships, more affordable training opportunities and enhanced links with schools and colleges.
Paul Maynard, Aviation Minister, said: “We have the largest aviation network in Europe, and with 435 million passengers set to travel through UK airports by 2050, we need the brightest minds from all backgrounds to support and strengthen this industry.
The Reach for the Sky programme will inspire the next generation of aviators and I’m sure the incredible stories from our Aviation Ambassadors will spark their imaginations and ensure we continue to be a world leader in aviation.”
According to the Department for Transport, ways to get involved in the ‘Reach for the Sky’ programme include:
• Supporting partnerships between airports, airlines, airfields and educational institutions such as between Harlow College and London Stansted Airport;
• encouraging innovative ideas to tackling workforce challenges such as the Aim High Educational Programme by Fly2help, that enables young people from all background to gain exposure to careers in the industry;
• promoting industry led initiatives such as the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter.
Six ambassadors are being tasked to inspire young people to become aviation professionals and ensure the industry is more inclusive and accessible:
Kirsty Murphy, a member of the flying aerobatics display team, The Blades, and the first woman to join the Red Arrows.
Patricia Mawuli and Jonathan Porter, who together overcame huge obstacles to pioneer flight training in Ghana for people of all backgrounds.
Jo Salter, the RAF’s first female fast jet pilot.
Captain Kate McWilliams, who became the world’s youngest female commercial captain in 2016 at age 26.
Arthur Williams, a former Royal Marine who trained to become an airline pilot after being paralysed in a car accident.
Anyone who would like to get involved in the ‘Reach for the Sky’ programme is asked to contact the Department for Transport at GeneralAviation@dft.gov.uk