Jobless join BAA ranks as staffing scheme takes off

BAA Stansted has recruited 70 long-term unemployed people as part of the
airport’s strategy to meet its growing staffing needs.

The Runway to Work initiative started in January and has placed new members
of staff in management, flight administration, customer relations and retail

The initiative provides the long-term unemployed the chance to combine two
weeks of classroom-based training with three weeks’ work experience at the

The scheme is run in conjunction with Haringey Council, Reed in Partnership,
the Employment Service and North London Learning and Skills Council, and is
part of the airport’s strategy to address the increasing problems of
recruitment at Stansted Airport.

BAA Stansted HR director John Norman said, "Stansted’s growth provides
an opportunity to extend the economic benefits of employment to the widest

"By facilitating partnerships between airport employers and public
sector agencies we are bringing together people who have access to funding,
with companies who have current and future job vacancies – bridging the gap
from long-term unemployment into employment."

A forum comprising public, private and voluntary sector organisations has
also been set up to look at all aspects of recruitment and employment including
the skills available in the local labour market and training. One of the its
key objectives is to set up an airport skills training programme.

The forum is supported by the Airport Employers Group made up of 24 airport
employers, which meets every six months, and a smaller steering group that
meets quarterly.

Airport employment strategy manager Wilma Scott said the airport would need
to increase its workforce of 10,500 to 17,000 by 2011 to cater for a predicted
rise in passenger numbers from 13 million to 25 million over the period.

By Ben Willmott

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