Work begins on education centre at Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport�s head of construction and development, Matt Allen (left), is pictured at the cons

Stansted Airport�s head of construction and development, Matt Allen (left), is pictured at the construction site with Aerozone education co-ordinator Joanne Davies (centre) and Bernie Kelly (right) of Galliford Try - Credit: Archant

Work has begun on a £500,000 education centre at Stansted Airport.

Artist's impression of how the Aerozone at Stansted Airport will look.

Artist's impression of how the Aerozone at Stansted Airport will look. - Credit: Archant

The Aerozone, being constructed in an old administration building next to the airfield, aims to boost skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.

It will give youngsters from schools, college and community groups in the region a taster of airport life and an insight into the variety of careers on offer across the site.

The airport’s head of construction and development Matt Allen marked the occasion by turning the first sod of soil this week, joined by Bernie Kelly of building firm Galliford Try.

Mr Allen said: “Engaging with young people, particularly those living in areas close to the airport, is a vital part of our community work.

“We want to encourage and inspire young people to think about what the airport does, why it does it, and the career opportunities that could be available to them in the future.

“We recognise the growing importance of tackling youth unemployment and we’ve already implemented a range of initiatives and projects to support young people into jobs at the airport.

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“With high youth unemployment across the UK and a shortage of local skilled employees, the Aerozone – along with our existing employment academy – will equip future employees with skills that will help them find work, either at airports or with another employer.”

As well as the classrooms, there will be picnic, viewing and parking areas for centre users.

There will also be a space dedicated to the airport’s history including its origins as a US Air Force base in the Second World War.

Earlier this year the airport launched its Community Network initiative, aimed at encouraging local businesses to take part in a range of airport community projects.

Many have signed up and are supporting the Aerozone project, offering sponsorship and materials to kit out the centre.

Joanne Davies, Aerozone education co-ordinator who was also at the turf cutting ceremony, added: “Within three years we aim to attract more than 5,000 visitors each year to the Aerozone.

“We also want to boost workplace volunteering and we will be encouraging airport employees via our Community Network initiative to get involved and give talks to groups about their careers and experiences.”

Work on the Aerozone is due to be completed by mid-February next year, with the centre set to open the following month.