Stansted looks to schools for skills

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
largely through its 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 that 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 and then feeding this information
back 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.”

Scott
said as part of the course students will be placed on work experience with
airport employers.

The courses
will cover core personal skills such as presentation, customer service and
communication as well as specific training for customer facing roles such as
ticketing and for operational jobs such as ramp handling.

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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