Teesside Airport Welcomes Students For University’s Aviation Conference

Teesside International Airport | Published on: 18th January 2023

More than 50 students and delegates have been welcomed to Teesside Airport today (18 January) to learn about career opportunities in the aviation sector and see first-hand the airport’s transformation.

The engagement day ran as part of Teesside University’s inaugural Aviation Conference, a week-long event bringing together leading figures from the UK’s aviation organisations and industries, to discuss some of the key issues facing the industry.

It also aimed to inspire young people considering a career in the sector. Visiting the airport were undergraduate and postgraduate students from the university, alongside students from Stockton Riverside College and Hartlepool College who are studying FDA Aviation and Tourism with Teesside University.

There, they were met by Teesside Airport’s Managing Director, Phil Forster, who introduced them to the site and gave them a potted history, including how the airport was brought back into public ownership in 2019 and its terminal transformation, while outlining its future ambitions.

Phil said: “Our airport has been on a huge journey over the past three years, achieving a massive amount even in the face of a global pandemic. Now we’re developing our cargo offering and working with the businesses based here to create jobs for the next generation of aviation workers.

“We’re also looking to the industries of tomorrow and tying into the region’s low carbon ambitions with schemes to make our airport net zero. We’re working alongside firms developing sustainable aviation fuel – critical to the future of the sector – as well as obviously growing our routes and passenger numbers. We were delighted to welcome the students to give them a snapshot of the opportunities available in the sector.”

Students were then given a tour of the terminal’s revamped facilities as well as its new fully accredited cargo facility which, in December last year, handled its first export and is expected to create up to 30 jobs.

After lunch, they met representatives from two businesses who are growing and seeing success at the site – Willis Aviation Services Limited and Draken Europe.

Willis, which has been based at the airport since 2020, recently officially submitted plans for its £25million maintenance facility and state-of-the-art Jet Centre which could create as many as 200 jobs. Following the completion of its second hangar, Draken has seen its fleet based at Teesside almost double, thanks to winning a new contract with the Ministry of Defence.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “Our holidaymakers, business travellers and inward investors know the benefits having a quality local airport brings. As we expand the site with our Southside Business Park and boost our cargo facilities, our offer is  only going to get stronger.

“But to keep our momentum going, we need a strong, talented workforce for years to come, ready, willing and able to fill the roles being created by firms like Willis, Draken and more.

“This event has helped us show our young people that they can stay local but go far and secure a brilliant career in aviation – whether that’s at a front-facing customer level, in our operations, or at one of the brilliant businesses based on our doorstep.”

The conference was organised by Teesside University International Business School which offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in aviation and tourism.

Susannah Mead, Teesside University International Business School Course Leader for Aviation, said: “The conference has been an incredible success.

“The events have empowered student prospects and instigated robust engagement with the wider community of aviation organisations.

“The visit today is further proof of the possibilities aviation can provide. We are extremely grateful to Teesside International Airport for this immersive opportunity, the airport’s unfaltering support for aviation education and for providing first hand insight into its ambitious future-facing plans.”

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