Stansted becomes the first major airport in the UK to open an on-site college
- Credit: Archant
A new £11m technical college opened its doors today to almost 300 students at Stansted Airport.
The new college, which is the only further education centre in Uttlesford, will “transform the lives of thousands of people”, according to MP Robert Halfon.
“It’s one-of-a-kind in the country,” he said. “Manchester Airports Group (which runs Stansted) are going to give jobs to thousands of people over the years because of this college.”
Stansted Airport College is run by Harlow College, will now offer learning designed to ready young people up for a career in the aviation industry - including courses in subjects such as aeronautical engineering, aircraft maintenance, flight operations, hospitality, retail and events management.
Earlier this year, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Skills Strategy highlighted that there are nearly 180,000 young people in the area with no qualifications, and skills below the national average at GCSE and degree level.
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SELEP’s chair, Christian Brodie, claims that the opening of the centre is a “key moment” in the fight to tackle skills shortages.
“Creating clear and direct paths for local young people into vitally important engineering roles, this employer-led project directly tackles challenges identified in our Skills Strategy,” he said.
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Constructed on a one-acre site, the project received two £3.5 million grants from SELEP Local Growth Fund and Essex County Council, £600,000 from Harlow College and a £300,000 grant from Uttlesford District Council.
As well as the new college, the airport also boasts the Aerozone children’s education centre, which offers training for children, and the dedicated on-site Stansted Employment and Skills Academy.
Stansted’s chief executive Ken O’Toole said the College is a “demonstration of the power of a true partnership between the private and public sector, local authority and LEP, airport and community.” “As a rapidly growing and responsible airport, employing over 12,000 people, we are focused on building a sustainable future for our business that is based on a long-term career pathway for young people across the region,” he said. “The College is a model for development that we hope will provide the airport with the thousands of first-rate careers that we will need to support our growth over the next decade.”
Molly Clark, 17, from Braintree, is now studying Level 3 Engineering at the new college. She said: “I love the fact that we’re so close to the Airport and all the industries that are based there. We can go and chat with the companies that we may be potentially employed by, which is really important.
“The course is tailored specifically around having the right skills to find employment – we have two weeks’ work experience during Easter, at both Titan Airways and Ryanair where we can make important contacts. We also have lots of speakers from industry due to visit us in the coming weeks.”