A seasoned Air Cadet commander and a TikTok influencer are two of the 10 new Aviation Ambassadors announced today (January 15) by the UK’s Aviation Minister, Anthony Browne.
Selected to inspire and guide the next generation of aviators, over the next two years the 10 ambassadors will attend schools, mentor events and workshops to showcase their experience, to encourage young people to use their skills for an aviation career.
As the sector continues to grow following the 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.
Alongside 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.
Minister 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 STEM.
With a unique role in avionics and extensive outreach experience, Goodwin is a mentor to young people at numerous aviation organisations supporting women and people from underrepresented backgrounds to take up aviation careers.
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.”
A full list of the 2024-2026 Aviation Ambassadors can be found here.
‘Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund’
In addition to the announcement of the Aviation Ambassadors, 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.
The fund aims to target schemes that serve as entry points for many, supporting individuals from underprivileged backgrounds or under-represented groups – creating a more inclusive and accessible pathway into the exciting world of aviation.
Winners include Flight Crowd, a not-for-profit organisation providing aviation bootcamps throughout the UK 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: “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, the 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.”
Organisations that met the criteria for the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund applied 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.”
Other winners of the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund are: the University of Leeds; Education and Employers Taskforce; Harlow College; Cambridge Science Centre (CSC); Leicester Education Business Company; TEC Women CIC; The Air League Trust; and Big Ideas CIC.
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