The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, paid a visit to Stansted Airport College on Tuesday 16 August to meet staff and speak with apprentices, as part of a wider visit to the Airport.
Ms Patel was given a guided tour of the college where she had the opportunity to visit the Engineering Workshop which houses a Boeing jet engine, the Cabin Crew room and Skills Kitchen as well as a quick look aboard the College’s recently refurbished Bombardier Challenger 600 executive jet plane.
During the visit she took the opportunity to chat to three of the college’s Engineering apprentices, Shaun, Kacper and John. where she was able to remind them that the airport is a major employer of people with their kind of skills and training.
Ms Patel also emphasised the importance of getting the right message into schools regarding the opportunities available to pupils for skills and training with a view to future careers at the airport. “If we want the airport to continue to grow, we must innovate and grow employability, and Stansted Airport College will be at the forefront as demand rises post-pandemic. The development of a skills pipeline is absolutely crucial.”
Shaun Hart, 18 from Braintree, was one of the apprentices the Home secretary spoke to during her visit. Shaun successfully completed his pre-apprenticeship at the college and then went on to join the Extended Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering in order to further develop his theoretical knowledge. He has now secured an apprenticeship position with Storm Aviation, a leading international line maintenance organisation.
“It was great to meet such a high-profile person, particularly as her position with the airport is massive. The aviation industry has taken a hit recently and to speak with someone with her amount of enthusiasm and support for the airport and the industry was great to hear.”
Victoria Clayden-Smith, Head of Centre at Stansted Airport College, said: ”It’s been great to have the Home Secretary visit us and to be able to showcase the college for what it is and the links we have with employers. It was also great that our apprentices were here to speak about their journey and be true, live evidence of what we do here at the college.
She was clearly very impressed with the college, particularly our links with employers. At one point she referred to the airport and the college as UK Plc, and that we are the future of the economy within the South East.”