£1.5m cash boost from government to help aviation recruitment

The government has announced £1.5m to help boost recruitment in the aviation sector amid “unprecedented” demand for travel in the wake of the pandemic.

The sector has been suffering from severe staff shortages in recent months which has forced airports to cut the number of flights that can take off per day over the busy summer period.

While Covid-19 restrictions significantly dampened demand for flights over the last two years, Gatwick recently said it had already seen over 10 million passengers travel through the airport in the first six months of this year compared to just 6.3 million across the whole of 2021.

As part of the new government funding, £700,000 has been allocated to the ‘Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund’, which will fund outreach programmes and events to educate young people on the career opportunities on offer in aviation.

The scheme will see government working with the industry on a new campaign to increase the number of people applying for jobs in the sector. The campaign is one of the key elements of the government’s 22-point plan to help the industry tackle the disruption it is currently experiencing as a result of demand outstripping staffing capacity.

Aviation minister Robert Courts said: “We’re all aware of the difficulties being experienced in the aviation industry at the moment. While measures such as our airport slots amnesty are having an immediate, positive impact, it’s absolutely vital that we also focus on making the industry more sustainable in the longer term.

“A resilient workforce is at the heart of that and is a core part of our 22-point plan to help the sector minimise disruption this summer. That’s why we’re funding great initiatives to encourage people into the sector – and to ensure that prosperous careers are accessible to all, regardless of their background or walk of life.”

To help ensure the industry is as accessible as possible, the government is also providing over £200,000 funding for the ‘Virtual Aerobility’ programme, which aims to make aviation more accessible for disabled people.

It provides tools to educate, support and inspire and will provide virtual, at-home flight simulators to enable disabled fliers to practice pilot skills at home.

The Department for Transport will be working with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to deliver the ‘Inspiring Aviation Awards’, which are designed to raise awareness of aviation careers, particularly amongst young people, women and diverse groups.

The government has also put over £600,000 behind the relaunch of the ‘Aviation Skills Recruitment Platform’ (ASRP), a free recruitment platform solely focused on jobs and opportunities in aviation. The government will continue its funding for the coming year (2022 to 2023) to ensure that jobs and training opportunities are available as the sector continues to recover.

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