Young female students at Stansted Airport College met with Liz Sugg, the UK’s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, yesterday (March 4) ahead of International Women’s Day this Friday (March 8).
The minister, who is calling on the aviation sector to address the shortage of women in aviation-related careers, was welcomed by college students as well as visiting girls from Thaxted Primary School. They were joined by female apprentices and women on the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) graduate scheme.
Sugg spoke with the younger children about career ideas and met female students who are all studying aviation-specific courses at the newly opened college on-site at London Stansted. EasyJet pilot Sarah Smartt was also on hand to talk to the students about her career as a pilot and to answer their wide-range of questions.
“Aviation employs more than 230,000 people across the UK, but it’s vital that the sector makes the best use of talent in this country,” said Sugg.
“There are already some great initiatives underway to attract more women into the industry, but we need to do more. Last week I had the pleasure of seeing first-hand the work London Stansted does through its range of education programs, which have helped inspire thousands of women and young girls over the last three years. Ahead of this year’s International Women’s Day, we are calling on the aviation industry to pledge action to address this gap.”
Liz Austin, HR director at London Stansted Airport, said, “Stansted Airport College was created to build a pipeline of future talent and works hard to promote the many exciting opportunities open to girls in aviation, from engineering to cabin crew. Along with our Aerozone education center for younger children, we’re proud of the part London Stansted is playing in inspiring the next generation of the aviation workforce and look forward to seeing an increase in the representation of women in all sectors.”
Karen Spencer, Principal of Stansted Airport College, added, “With around only 8% of engineers and pilots being females it’s really important to work with girls from an early age to inspire them to think about aviation and STEM subjects. All our young visitors left the building buzzing with questions and a desire to learn more.”