Budget airline easyJet and Fantasy Wings, a leading UK-based organisation that promotes diversity in aviation, have launched an exciting new partnership to provide a fully funded mentorship and training programme for young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and young women aged 13–25 years looking to kick-start their careers in aviation.
The easyJet And Fantasy Wings Partnership Takes Off!
Fantasy Wings is a leading aviation diversity organisation based in the UK; its mission is to inspire and equip young people from underrepresented groups with the skills, knowledge and confidence required to launch and excel in a career in aviation.
Through their recently signed partnership, easyJet and Fantasy Wings have committed to providing fully funded places in Fantasy Wings’ aviation career development programme for eligible young people from 50 schools across the UK. The aim of the programme is to widen access to the aviation industry through skills development, practical knowledge training, networking opportunities and mentorship from industry leaders.
Enrolment in the programme is open to UK-based students interested in a career in aviation who fulfil one or both of the following criteria:
- Young people aged 13–25 from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds
- Young women aged 13–25
As a part of the programme, there will also be an opportunity for participants to be selected for sponsorship to gain an accredited private pilot licence; Fantasy Wings will cover the cost of 45 hours of training and associated examination fees in full.
Before the programme’s launch in October 2023, young people interested in applying can register their interest through the following website: https://fantasywings.co.uk/register/
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Through the easyJet and Fantasy Wings partnership, young people will have the opportunity to gain insights into the airline’s everyday operations, whether that be through mentoring from current easyJet pilots or sessions with representatives from the airline.
Many easyJet pilots already take on additional mentoring commitments; some pilots have even worked with Fantasy Wings on previous occasions.
On the programme, Chris Brown, a training captain at easyJet and Fantasy Wings mentor, commented:
“Having been a long-time supporter of Fantasy Wings and seeing the fantastic work they do, we are incredibly proud to be launching this partnership by supporting young people on their aviation career development programme. We look forward to working with the Fantasy Wings team to see more young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and young women interested in the airline and aviation industries grow and excel in a career in aviation.”
Representation In Aviation Matters
In the airline pilot industry, women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people are severely underrepresented.
According to UK Research and Innovation, of the UK’s 16,000 pilots, under 6% are women. Fantasy Wings’ own statistics put the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic pilots at just 7% of the total workforce. Limited support and systemic barriers have been cited for the disproportionately low numbers; this is something easyJet, and Fantasy Wings hope to change.
In 2022, the airline launched a recruitment campaign inspired by the hit film “Top Gun” to dispel negative stereotypes around jobs in aviation and encourage more young girls and women to consider a career in the industry.
As a positive sign, the partnership cements easyJet’s commitment to improving inclusion and diversity within its workforce. The airline hopes that the partnership will have a positive impact on the industry as a whole by allowing more young people from previously underrepresented backgrounds to gain practical experience in the industry and by making them aware of the wealth of opportunities that are available.
Jackson Smith, founder and CEO of Fantasy Wings, commented:
“Increasing the representation within the aviation industry is so important to us at Fantasy Wings. It is crucial that young people from diverse backgrounds are aware that not only is there a wealth of opportunities within aviation, but that they are readily available to them with no limitations or barriers.”
What are your thoughts on easyJet and Fantasy Wings’ new partnership? Will you be taking part in the programme? Let us know in the comments!