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Stansted Airport to build on college success with UK’s first aviation education and skills campus




The UK’s first aviation education and skills campus is being planned at Stansted Airport.

The new project builds on the success of Stansted Airport College, the first purpose-built further education college in the country.

As a new intake of students passes through its doors, airport bosses and the college are considering options to enlarge the building's capacity of 500 students to cope with future demand.

Stansted Airport College development (16851440)
Stansted Airport College development (16851440)

In addition, college building architects Pascall+Watson have unveiled concept designs to outline how a dedicated education zone bringing together the airport’s award-winning Aerozone and the Stansted Airport Employment and Skills Academy could be created.

The Aerozone is an aviation-themed learning hub to inspire children and young adults about the key STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and maths with a view to careers in the aviation industry. Since opening its doors in 2015 it has welcomed over 15,000 visitors.

The Stansted Airport Employment and Skills Academy promotes on-site job vacancies and offers tailored aviation training programmes and apprenticeship schemes to help jobseekers gain the necessary skills to enable them to secure employment at the airport.

Stansted Airport College. Official opening. l-r: Karen Spencer (College Principal), Robert Halfon MP, Ken O'Toole (MD Stansted). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851508)
Stansted Airport College. Official opening. l-r: Karen Spencer (College Principal), Robert Halfon MP, Ken O'Toole (MD Stansted). .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851508)

Ken O’Toole, Stansted’s chief executive, said: “We are all very proud of the college and the unique, ground-breaking partnership between education and industry that led to its creation. It enjoyed an extremely successful launch year, attracting over 300 new students, and as its popularity continues to grow, now is clearly the right time to look at how we can build on this success and explore opportunities to develop an educational campus here at the airport.

“Our vision is for a ‘one stop shop’ education zone that brings together a growing college, and hugely popular Aerozone and Employment and Skills Academy. This will help cement London Stansted’s position as a UK centre of excellence within aviation for skills, education and employment, and create a community facility that not only delivers for young people today but creates a genuine legacy for future generations too.”

Opened last year by Harlow MP Robert Halfon, chairman of the House of Commons Education Select Committee, Stansted Airport College is a joint venture between Stansted and Harlow College, with additional funding from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Essex County Council, Uttlesford District Council and the Savoy Trust.

As the only further education facility in Uttlesford, the curriculum offers courses in a range of subjects including aviation, engineering, aircraft maintenance, cabin crew, hospitality and event management.

Stansted Airport College. Official opening. Robert Halfon MP. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851586)
Stansted Airport College. Official opening. Robert Halfon MP. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851586)

Mr Halfon said: “There is an amazing Stansted Airport-Harlow College further education facility at the airport, the only one of its kind in the UK, training young people in everything to do with aviation. It’s fantastic news there are plans to expand the area and do lots more together, providing unbelievable training opportunities for our young people, development of skills, apprenticeships, jobs and careers.”

Aviation minister Paul Maynard said: “The aviation industry is much more than planes and airports, it is built on skills, enterprise and innovation. The opportunities and jobs created stretch across the whole of the UK and education must remain at the forefront of our plans for such a crucial industry.

“London Stansted and Harlow College’s partnership shows how the public and private sectors can collaborate, improving skills and training for young people, to help deliver a pipeline of talent that will boost the workforce for decades to come.”

Stansted Airport College. Official opening. College Principal Karen Spencer. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851721)
Stansted Airport College. Official opening. College Principal Karen Spencer. .Pic: Vikki Lince. (16851721)

Karen Spencer, principal and chief executive of Harlow College, said: “Following our very successful first year of operation, Stansted Airport College has embarked on a summer-long programme to extend facilities and resources in order to cope with demand and to accommodate new staff and students.

“This work is just the first phase of a wider growth programme that the college and airport are jointly working on, including early-stage planning and design work to develop the college site into a wider campus.

"These plans include the development of a new hangar training facility for aeronautical engineering, further facilities to enable us to grow and enhance our aviation industry curriculum, school engagement facilities and broader employer support capabilities.

“Building on the strong links that the college has already forged with business partners across the airport, this development will enable us to fully meet their skills and recruitment needs, and, once complete, the college’s current learner capacity of 500 could rise to around 1,000 per year, making Stansted Airport College a national centre of excellence for skills training in the aviation industry.”



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