Air League Event at the House of Commons Highlights the Importance of Supporting Youth Access to Aviation in the UK

  • The ‘Youth in Aviation’ event was a chance for voluntary organisations to showcase how their work benefits young people and society as a whole
  • The Air League and other voluntary organisations including Aerobility, the BGA, the Air Cadet Organisation and the Air Scouts joined forces to demonstrate the benefits of aviation to today’s youth
  • The Air League’s ‘Leading Edge’ group put forward a position paper entitled ‘Aviation for Everyone’ which focuses on the importance of these youth aviation organisations to the future of the British aerospace industry

London, 29th March 2011

The Air League www.airleague.co.uk has teamed up with a host of voluntary organisations to highlight to politicians the social benefit of youth access to aviation and the vital connection such activities have with the future prosperity of the British aerospace industry. The ‘Youth in Aviation’ event was held at the House of Commons on 28th March and was attended by Members of Parliament and key figures from the aerospace industry.

This event celebrated the achievements of the participating voluntary organisations, giving them the opportunity to showcase their valuable work. The day also gave these organisations and those they represent the chance to raise some legitimate concerns with politicians and government staff in an informal environment.

The concerns raised by the Air League and its affiliates are outlined in the key recommendations of the position paper, summarised below.

Link industry and volunteering

The government needs to promote and help foster links between the aviation industry and the voluntary organisations associated with it. Forging a closer connection between industry and voluntary organisations enables aviation employees to guide and develop future talent for the industry.

Social development and integration through volunteer organisations

The Air League applauds the government’s flagship initiative aiming to entrench a strong sense of civic responsibility within society and acknowledges that volunteering is a vehicle for the social development of volunteers as well as those they are working to help. The Air League would like to know more detail from the government regarding how the barriers to volunteering will be broken down, as bureaucracy, insurance and health and safety factors are very real obstacles to volunteer programs.

Maintain investment in R&D

Future Britain should be a centre of excellence for aeronautics and high-end engineering. The Air League is concerned that government spending on aviation R&D has fallen behind that of competing nations. Investment in aviation activities will ensure that the UK stays at the forefront of technology, innovation and highly skilled industries in an increasingly global market.

Encourage aviation and aerospace as part of formal education

The ties between voluntary youth aviation organisations and the education system should be strengthened and developed, linking activities like pilot training and aircraft maintenance with curriculum subjects such as mathematics, science, technology and engineering. The Air League also calls for further support to education outreach / strategic philanthropy programs. In addition, the paper asks that the government reconsiders the VAT rules for flying training, which are currently at odds with other types of professional training.

One of the organisations participating in the event was Aerobility, a UK charity that facilitates flights and pilot training for disabled people.

Mike Miller-Smith, CEO of Aerobility said:

“This event has demonstrated how aviation related activities can empower young people in the UK. We have seen positive examples of change right across the youth social spectrum and of how aviation continues to strengthen the very being of the country. Government investment is vital to these initiatives, so it was great to have this chance to reiterate to politicians the importance of this support.”

Andy Perkins, Chairman of the Air League ‘Leading Edge’ added:

“It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the many voluntary organisations that help keep Britain at the forefront of aerospace. It is thanks to the organisations that took part that there are no financial barriers to experiencing aviation at first hand – and enjoying the benefits that it brings in terms of personal development.”

About the Air League

  1. The Air League was founded in 1909 by a group of individuals who were concerned that Britain was falling behind other nations in the development of its aviation capability
  2. The mission of the Air League is to generate national understanding of the importance to the UK of aviation and aerospace, and to excite the interest of young people in these areas by helping them to become involved
  3. HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh KG KT is the patron of the Air League
  4. The Air League has been encouraging air-mindedness in young people since its foundation and this effort was formally recognised with the creation of the Air League Educational Trust (ALET), a registered charity, in 1968

Participating Organisations

Aerobility www.aerobility.com

One in 20 young people in the UK has a disability and Aerobility are here to represent them, using aviation as a tool to improve their lives. The charity was founded in 1993 to represent the needs of disabled pilots and was called the British Disabled Flying Association (‘BDFA’).

Air Scouts www.airscouts.org.uk

For over 100 hundred years, The Scout Association in the UK has been providing adventurous activities and personal development opportunities for young people, guided by volunteer adult leadership teams. Personal development means promoting the physical, intellectual, social and spiritual well-being of the individual, and helping them achieve their full potential as responsible citizens and as members of their local, national and international communities as evidenced by the many and diverse community projects that Scouting is involved with from international development and relief projects to local eco-projects.

British Gliding Association www.gliding.co.uk

Gliding is a sporting and recreational activity exploring the potential of unpowered flight. Gliding is a challenging, rewarding and accessible sport open to all. There are over 9,000 flying members with a further 25,000 people participating in gliding each year with around 150 newly qualified pilots each year.

Brooklands Museum www.brooklandsmuseum.com

Brooklands Museum is an independent charitable trust, established in 1987, whose aim is to conserve, protect and interpret the unique heritage of the Brooklands site and to use that heritage to inspire and educate future generations.

Fly 2 Help www.fly2help.org

Fly2help is a flying charity dedicated to helping those who have suffered disaster, difficulty or tragedy by allowing them to experience the joy of flying.

GAPAN Young Members www.gapanym.org

The Guild Young Members Group, "GYM" is open to all members of the Guild aged 35 and under. The GYM Committee aim to support and encourage young people involved in piloting, navigation and aviation in general through a number of initiatives.

Heartstone Festival of Flight www.heartstone.co.uk

Heartstone is a UK based non-profit organisation which builds contact, communication and understanding across different nationalities and cultures challenging many forms of prejudice and intolerance. ‘Festival of Flight – Ultimate Skills, Open Spirit’ is a photo documentary exhibition which celebrates the thrill and passion of flight.

Light Aircraft Association www.lightaircraftassociation.co.uk

The LAA sponsors flight training through the Armstrong-Isaacs Scholarship, and has recently set up the Light Aircraft Association Educational Trust to help with its extensive programme of Youth Aviation activities. Every year, through the generosity of LAA members, several hundred youngsters from all over Britain receive free air experience flights in a light aircraft, under the Young Aviators programme, which has now been running for some 12 years.

RAF Air Cadets www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets

The Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) comprises the Air Training Corps (ATC) and the RAF sections of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF). Cadets are based at 1156 units throughout the UK and 4 locations overseas. Currently, there are over 45000 cadets supported by over 11000 adult volunteers.

RAF Museum www.rafmuseum.org.uk

The Royal Air Force Museum is a charitable trust which exists to promote the history and traditions of the Royal Air Force; to educate present and future generations about its values and ethos and to encourage young people to understand aviation, science and technology.

Royal Aeronautical Society www.raes.org.uk

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) is the professional body dedicated to furthering the art and science of aeronautics. The RAeS has 17,000 members - including over 4000 young members - worldwide.

The Royal Aero Club Trust www.royalaeroclubtrust.org

The Royal Aero Club of the United Kingdom (RAeC) is the national coordinating body for Air Sport in the United Kingdom and in the guise of The Royal Aero Club Trust, it offers a number of bursaries and grants as part of its Flying for Youth program.

Source: Air League

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