A new jobs portal to boost employment and upskill workers in the aviation sector has been launched today by the UK Government.

    The Aviation Skills Retention Platform is an online skills and recruitment centre specially tailored to find jobs for candidates who currently may be unable to work as a result of the pandemic, or similar roles that match their existing skillset.

    The UK Government has partnered with several employers, including the Civil Aviation Association, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce to offer an initial 2,185 vacancies, with more added every day.

    According to a statement, the scheme will preserve “essential expertise” while addressing the wider skills shortage in the market, by both supporting those who are currently not working, and nurturing existing skills to lay the foundations for future growth when international travel restarts.

    This follows the news that a six-month renewal of the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme has been approved as part of this year’s budget.

    The scheme, initially launched in January 2021, supports airports and ground handlers with fixed costs while travel restrictions remain in place.

    Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:   “We’re supporting our aviation sector by launching an online jobs market to match aviation workers with thousands of vacancies, helping skilled workers regain high value positions across this hugely important sector.

    “At the same time, we’re renewing our scheme to help airports and ground operators with their fixed costs. Grants of up to £4m will be available, building on the success of the scheme launched in January.

    “The extension of Government-backed loans and furlough payments announced at budget yesterday build on around £7bn of support already pledged by Government, benefiting the sector since the start of the pandemic. These measures will help ensure this vital and vibrant part of the UK economy is ready to bounce back in the wake of the pandemic.”

    With air travel likely to be lower than normal over the coming months, the UK Government says that the renewal of the support scheme will provide airports with a financial boost through the Summer by helping to cover fixed costs including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rates bills.

    From May, eligible commercial airports and ground operators will be able to apply for up to £4 million towards their fixed costs between April and September 2021, with payments expected by the end of Summer.    

    This comes just one week after the Government announced additional support for the sector, extending the ‘80:20’ slot waiver to provide airlines with much needed flexibility through the Summer months.

    It also follows the first meeting of the Government’s Global Travel Taskforce this week, which is working to develop a plan for restarting international travel in a safe and sustainable way.