Almost 2,500 students across west London took part in the eighth annual Heathrow’s Secondary School Challenge this week.
During the half-day event, on Tuesday (April 27), Heathrow engineering apprentices helped students build their own version of the Terminal 5 Track Transit System (TTS), the train that shuttles passengers to satellite terminals.
By listening to the Heathrow apprentices students got an insight into the wide range of engineering careers available at Heathrow.
Both the Heathrow Secondary School Challenge and Heathrow's Primary School Challenge - held annually in autumn - are designed to encourage a new generation to explore careers in engineering and address a national skills gap in this field.
Engineering UK estimates that Britain needs to double the number of recruits into engineering to meet demand.
Head of careers at Featherstone Secondary School Andrew Webb: “The Heathrow Secondary School Program is related to real life, provides insight into a wider career, and best of all it is enjoyable for the students. It is all about widening their options and getting them to consider jobs they normally wouldn’t.”
Kelly Stone, engineering training and development manager, said: “Heathrow’s engineering apprenticeship programme is amongst the most popular in the UK and our engineering apprentices inevitably become some of our most talented colleagues here at the airport.
"In fact, over 40% of the current engineering workforce, including senior managers, is composed of ex-apprentices.
"We hope their enthusiasm and skills will inspire a new generation of home grown apprentices at our airport.”
Jenny Mercer, Heathrow engineering apprentice, said: “It was great to share my experiences with those that could eventually be my colleagues at Heathrow, particularly young women.
"Engineering can be a male-dominated sphere of work, and I hope that by talking to young women directly about my experience, we can share the potential of a career in engineering and recruit them to join our Heathrow team.”