Teenagers a solution to Stansted’s skills needs

BAA Stansted is working with Harlow College to develop a vocational training
course for school-age students to provide the airport with the skilled
workforce it needs.

The airport, which has seen passenger traffic recover strongly since 11
September through the success of budget operators such as Ryanair and Buzz, is
planning to launch the aviation studies programme at the college in spring next
year for 14 and 15-year-olds.

The idea for the training course, which will provide NVQ qualifications at
levels 1 to 3, came from the Airport Skills Training Taskforce, consisting of
airport employers and representatives from Community Regeneration, the Learning
and Skills Council, local colleges and training providers.

Wilma Scott, the airport’s employment strategy manager, said BAA is
providing £50,000 for a project manager to develop the scheme and find matching
funding from bodies such as the LSC.

The project manager will have the job of talking to individual airport
employers to identify the precise skills profiles needed. He will then give
this to the college tutors who can fine tune the course to make it relevant.

"I think the link with aviation will be exciting and particularly
attractive to 13 and 14-year-olds who are becoming disillusioned with further
education. It provides a direct route to real jobs."

Part of the course is work experience at the airport.

The courses will cover core personal skills such as presentation, customer
service and communication and specific training for customer-facing roles.

Scott said that if the course proves successful it could be extended to
colleges feeding Gatwick and Heathrow.

By Ben Willmott

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