In a pioneering initiative to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals, UK Aviation Minister, Anthony Browne, has today announced the appointment of 10 new aviation ambassadors.
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With a lineup ranging from a TikTok influencer, who specialises in showing life behind the scenes at airports, to a seasoned RAF Air Cadet commander with over a decade’s experience and a private pilot licence, the new ambassadors have been selected to inspire and guide the next generation of aviators.
As the sector continues to grow following the COVID-19 pandemic, having a young and diverse workforce that can embrace and adapt to new challenges – whether that be new technologies, cleaner travel or emerging trends – will ensure the UK is at the cutting edge of the aviation industry.
Over the next two years, the ambassadors will serve as mentors and advocates, attending schools, mentoring events and workshops to showcase their experience and encourage young people to use their skills in aviation. As well as delivering their own bespoke outreach activities to underrepresented groups, the ambassadors will also offer advice on where pathways into aviation can be created or improved – making it easier for young people to join the sector.
Aviation Minister, Anthony Browne, said: "As the aviation industry evolves, these new aviation ambassadors will shine a light on this rewarding sector, attracting talented individuals who might otherwise miss their opportunity.
"These ambassadors will help to attract even more innovation and creativity to the industry, showcasing the opportunities available in this exciting new era of new technology and decarbonisation."
One of the new ambassadors is Alice Goodwin, a design and development engineer at Virgin Atlantic with a passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ambitions to become a chartered engineer. With a unique role in avionics and extensive outreach experience, she is a mentor to young people at four aviation charities supporting people of colour to take up aviation careers.
New aviation ambassador, Alice Goodwin, said: "Aviation engineering is a dynamic and interesting industry, full of passionate and inspiring individuals. I am really looking forward to being an ambassador and having the platform to showcase the amazing opportunities available in our industry to young people."
To further inspire the next generation of aviation professionals, 10 schemes at the forefront of inspiring and engaging young people have been awarded a share of £750,000 from the next round of the government’s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund.
For those who have previously struggled to get a foothold in the industry, the aim of the fund is to dismantle barriers and target schemes that serve as entry points for many, supporting individuals from underprivileged backgrounds or underrepresented groups – creating a more inclusive and accessible pathway into the exciting world of aviation.
Winners of this round’s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund include Flight Crowd, a not-for-profit organisation providing aviation bootcamps throughout the country to give hundreds of people opportunities to learn and connect with the industry and London City Airport, which offers multiple STEM workshops and events on business mentoring and skills.
Michael Spiers, Chief People Officer at London City Airport, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded funding from the DfT’s and CAA’s Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund to help inspire the next generation of aviators.
"London City Airport delivers a range of skills and education initiatives – such as our annual STEM in Aviation Day event – to inspire hundreds of students across east London and this funding will help build on this important work in 2024."
Mariya Tarabanovska, founder of Flight Crowd, said: "We are thrilled to announce the expansion of our Propel into Future Flight programme to new horizons, thanks to the generous support from the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund for the second consecutive year.
"The enthusiasm and engagement we’ve witnessed from communities across the UK during our boot camps have been truly inspiring. Empowering young minds with the skills and knowledge essential for shaping the future of aviation remains at the core of our mission. And with this continued funding, we are excited to reach even more locations and diverse backgrounds."
This financial support represents an important step in the government’s goal to support the industry’s efforts to build a skilled, diverse and passionate workforce for the future – helping boost the economy and keep the UK at the forefront of global aviation.
Organisations meeting the criteria for the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund were able to apply for a share of £750,000, with funding decisions agreed by a joint panel of the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – which administers the fund on DfT’s behalf.
Sophie Jones, Head of Organisational Capability at the UK CAA, said: "Young people are our future, and aviation is no exception. The work entrusted to these new aviation ambassadors in inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals is incredibly important, ensuring the sector continues to thrive and meet the challenges of the evolving technological landscape.
"We’re also excited to see the work done by the successful applicants of the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund, which we support and know is vital in providing an entry point into the world of aviation and aerospace."
Both the aviation ambassadors and Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund are cornerstones of Generation Aviation – an ambitious government-industry programme dedicated to raising profiles of different aviation careers, removing barriers and attracting diverse and talented people so that the UK can unleash the full potential of the sector.