Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge – Flintshire school students celebrate at virtual graduation ceremony
Twenty year 9 Ysgol Treffynnon students, who underwent a gruelling application process to be selected for the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge programme, attended a virtual graduation ceremony, two years after starting the course.
The programme is designed for students to develop their workplace skills while gaining practical experience, learning about careers in aviation, and developing a passion for learning.
Working in groups of five, alongside mentors from Airbus’ craft and graduate apprenticeship scheme, the students undertook different projects each week with sessions delivered at Airbus, Broughton alongside classroom lessons and talks.
Activities included making towers with straws, programming robotic vehicles, building gliders out of balsa wood and having a tour around the wing factory for the A320 and A350 wings.
Representatives from Chester Zoo also gave a talk about avian flight and how the study of this informs the design of planes.
Other features of the programme included a lesson in first aid, participating in teamwork exercises at the Fire and Rescue station at Hawarden Airport, learning about composite materials and how they are used, and spending time in the traffic control tower at Hawarden Airport to understand the role of air traffic controllers.
Fly2Help, a charity supported by Airbus, organised for the students to visit City Airport & Heliport in Barton, near Manchester and John Lennon Airport, Liverpool to appreciate the operational differences between small and large airports.
The students experienced flying in a flight simulator and learnt about the difference between business air travel and commercial air travel.
In addition, the students spent a day at Coleg Cambria learning about the Airbus Apprenticeship and Graduate training courses, and a day at West Cheshire College finding out about careers within tourism.
They also took part in a flight safety check in a mock fuselage under the instruction of the students and lecturers at the college.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, delays were encountered during the programme but Airbus and the Engineering Development Trust (EDT) organised a virtual graduation ceremony for the students to celebrate their achievements.
They showed a presentation looking back at some of the amazing things the students had accomplished during the course.
All the students received a Bronze Industrial Cadets Award and a goodie bag.
Mrs Vicky Bond, Science Technician at Ysgol Treffynnon has been working with the students throughout the programme, she said: “The Airbus Flying Challenge programme is a fantastic experience for anyone to participate in. The students have learnt a lot of skills and gained qualifications along the way.”
“I have been involved with the programme since it began in 2017 and have seen students gain confidence, choose a career path, and increase their own self-esteem.”
“It is a programme I would highly recommend, and I feel privileged to have been involved with the last three cohorts.”
“We would like to thank all those who helped to make this happen: Reaching Wider for providing funding for transportation, BE Davies who took us to the weekly meetings and the Fly2Help days, and Airbus, EDT and Fly2Help for putting the programme together.”
“Thanks also to Coleg Cambria, Ravenair, XLR, City Airport and Heliport, and West Cheshire College for allowing us to visit and showing us what they do.”
“Finally, special thanks to Phil McGraa, Airbus community relations manager, who set up the programme in North Wales, and worked closely with Filton to produce the programme.”
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