SkillsForGrowth – why creating local talent pipelines matters to the aviation sector.

After attending Business Connect’s Skills for Growth conference in London last week, MAG’s Group Head of Education, Skills and Employment, Marcella M’Rabety explains the importance of offering education and skills training to local airport communities.


Last week’s Business Connect ‘Skills for Growth’ conference, organised by The Department for Education, highlighted how skills and training programmes can support business, and grow the economy by creating a pipeline of future talent.

At MAG we are doing just that. By offering the people who live around our airports the opportunity to build long and fulfilling careers in the aviation sector, we are not only improving people’s lives and creating talent, but also supporting the regional economies which we serve.

Our commitment to providing skills and education support and training is longstanding, and ‘Opportunity for All’ sits as central pillar of our CSR Strategy – ‘Working together for a brighter future’.  In partnership with colleges and Job Centres, we have supported thousands of young people and jobseekers across the length and breadth of our airport catchment areas into training and employment.

From our three education centres - Aerozones, which inspire school aged children to pursue careers in the sector, to our Airport Academies that provide free training and employment support to adults – including free upskilling courses for existing staff. We want to remove barriers and provide as many pathways as possible to a rewarding career in aviation. We also work with organisations that support people with disabilities or other health related issues to secure supported internships and paid employment.

We are industry-leading in our approach to skills and education – opening the UK’s first aviation-dedicated further education college in 2018. Stansted Airport College – delivered in partnership with Harlow College – provides practical courses ranging from Aircraft Engineering, Airside Operations to Cabin Crew training. These qualifications, set young people up to start their careers at London Stansted. Since opening the College has seen 2,000 students and apprentices enter the world of aviation.

Most recently, our trail-blazing approach has seen us launch a new apprenticeship scheme at Manchester Airport. Never seen before in the UK aviation sector, the Airport Operations Apprenticeship programme will deliver a foundation level degree, completely debt free to at least 30 people from the local area.

I look forward to exploring how we adapt this exciting scheme at both London Stansted and East Midlands Airports in the near future.

By delivering our commitment to providing ‘Opportunity for All’, this wide range of initiatives help to break down barriers and enable more people from our local areas to secure rewarding careers in the aviation sector. This in turn creates a diverse talent pipeline, which will allow the local economies surrounding our airports to flourish.

I was pleased to attend last week’s Skills for Growth Conference and hear from business leaders and Government Ministers about the importance of this work. It’s clear that the skills agenda is rightly one of the top priorities for the Government now and businesses are being strongly encouraged to take it seriously and start tackling it in the same was as sustainability and climate change.

Businesses have a great opportunity to shape the skills system so that it can help to deliver a productive economy. MAG’s CSR Strategy sets out how we address skills shortages and build the talent pipeline.

 I am very proud of MAG’s pioneering programmes and our achievements in this area. We will continue to build on this, and I look forward to seeing what we can deliver in the future.