3 July 2023
A £750,000 investment into flight training has been announced by Aviation Minister Baroness Vere during a visit to Norwich Airport, as part of the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund, initially launched in 2022.
This fund is to help individuals who face difficulties entering aviation with a focus is on those from underprivileged backgrounds or under-represented groups.
“I want the aviation sector to be an inclusive and inviting one,” said Baroness Vere. “I am committed to ensuring that young people have opportunities to pursue rewarding careers in this sector.”
She stressed the investment’s critical role in making the UK the ideal place for aviation, fostering a diverse workforce that can address present and future challenges.
The Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund is pivotal in eliminating obstacles for those keen on an aviation or aerospace career, added Sophie Jones, Head of Organisational Capacity and STEM Sponsor at UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
“The fund will help give young people the knowledge and training they need to develop essential skills for the sector,” said Ms Jones.
The new funding will be distributed among several outreach programs and events across the UK to inform young people about the various opportunities in the aviation sector. Last year’s winners included Flight Crowd’s boot camp, where young people aged 14-18 designed future electric aircraft, and Resilient Pilot’s virtual mentoring scheme, which provided competency-focused career pathway programmes for students to realise their flying dreams.
The Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund had previously allocated £130,000 for a summer school at Norwich Airport’s academy, in partnership with the Norfolk-based social enterprise NUNCATS. Here, students made aviation history by constructing the first-ever British electric light aircraft.
As part of this initiative, the Department for Transport will closely collaborate with the CAA to deliver the programme. This will build on the recently announced Virtual Work Experience Scheme to encourage the uptake of STEM subjects. The CAA will engage with potential aviators through its STEM team to distribute the funding among the winning applicants.