Manchester Airport opens aviation career education center

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As part of its £1bn (US$1.3bn) transformation program, Manchester Airport in the UK has opened an education center to inform future generations about a career in aviation.

The AeroZone center will offer curriculum-linked sessions focused on the wide range of careers available in aviation for schoolchildren aged 4-18 and will welcome more than 5,000 pupils each year. A careers wall showcases the wide range of jobs available in aviation and advice about how to access them. Airport colleagues will also appear as guest speakers, giving children the chance to ask questions. The design of the center, which includes a mix of classroom space and interactive zones, is influenced by aviation, as it has a cabin with seats, a cockpit and flight simulator.

AeroZone forms part of the education program at Manchester Airport, as outlined in MAG’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. The airport operator has committed to ensuring “opportunity for all” as one of the strategy’s key objectives, with a pledge to support the education of at least 60,000 young people over the next five years.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham opened the center with airport managing director Karen Smart and 15 pupils from Outwood Primary School in Heald Green, who were then given a tour of the facility.

Manchester Airport’s £1bn (US$1.3bn) transformation program has also included the opening of a newly expanded, state-of-the-art Terminal Two in July 2021. Manchester Airport has worked in partnership with construction firm Laing O’Rourke, lead contractor on the Terminal Two project, to deliver AeroZone. Other partners include Manchester-based design consultants Space Zero; Pascall and Watson, which led on architectural design; construction consultancy IdentityConsult; and IT provider SCC.

Robert Courts, the UK’s Aviation Minister, said, “Providing clear paths for young people to get into our brilliant aviation industry is absolutely crucial as it bounces back from the pandemic and faces up to the challenges of climate change. We want the next wave of talent to think big and the Aerozone at Manchester Airport gives pupils of all ages the chance to do that. Initiatives like this sit alongside the government’s Aviation Skills Retention Platform, our online job platform, which is providing opportunities at all levels as we build back better, and with our Reach for the Sky program working to inspire the next generation of aviation professionals.”

Karen Smart, managing director at Manchester Airport, said, “We are delighted to be able to open this fantastic facility at long last, having originally planned to open it in 2020 before the pandemic made that unviable. AeroZone provides us with an on-site hub for our educational outreach work and provides schoolchildren in our area with a state-of-the-art facility in which they can learn more about the global gateway on their doorstep, with lessons and materials tailored to the curriculum.

“We are also keen to open youngsters’ eyes to the broad range of career opportunities on offer across our site. We are currently recruiting for hundreds of roles, from security officers to lounge hosts, and the airport will continue to be a key job creator in Manchester over the years to come as we recover from the pandemic, so hopefully this facility will encourage young people to think about the options available to them once they have finished their studies.”

Greater Manchester Mayor Burnham added, “Initiatives such as this are vitally important in providing Manchester’s young people with a clear pathway towards a rewarding career and this is just one example of the benefits that having a global travel hub in our region brings. I am sure that a visit to AeroZone will be an eye-opener for the young people who experience it, and I am glad to see Manchester Airport, as a major employer in this region, proactively highlighting the opportunities available here and encouraging the next generation to be ambitious.”

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