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Virtual Work Experience at Heathrow

Six colleges have joined forces to ensure their students don’t miss out on work experience opportunities during lockdown. Over one thousand 16-18-year olds will take part in the virtual work experience programme funded by the Department for Education (DFE), starting on 22 February 2021. Top employers will give the young people online webinars to demonstrate the latest technologies in their business sectors and show them best practice.

The work experience programme kicked off at the start of National Apprenticeships Week 2021 with a Welcome Webinar for the students and their teachers, hosted by Springpod and Heathrow.

Funded through the DfE College Collaboration Fund, Springpod began developing the online solution to provide virtual work experience in September 2020.

There will be a number of different airport-based employers taking part, known collectively as ‘Team Heathrow’. These employers are from diverse sectors such as engineering, construction, marketing, IT and business solutions.

The Team Heathrow employers will be demonstrating how they work together to ensure the smooth running of the UK’s hub airport, as well as showing some of the key roles in their sector and the skills needed to succeed.

Poorvi Patel, Head of Education, Employment & Skills at Heathrow, said: “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on young people. That’s why we are proud to be working with our Team Heathrow partners to develop a high-quality virtual work experience programme for young people keen to learn more about a career in aviation.

“The programme will enable students to develop their employability skills, fuel their ambitions and gain an insight into the UK’s only hub airport. The new programme will help to support local communities affected by the pandemic – one of the key commitments set out in the Heathrow Local Economic Recovery Plan.”

The online platform for the project has been developed by Springpod and will enable the work experience students to watch videos and take part in a whole host of interactive webinars and quizzes, relating to construction, engineering, business, marketing, sustainability and IT.

Vice Principal for Business Development at the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, Juliet Holloway commented on the innovative programme, she said: “The current lockdown has forced us to be more creative with solutions for young people and this project has been an excellent example of how colleges and industry partners can work together. We will be encouraging our students to take part in the programme and get the valuable training and advice that Team Heathrow can provide.”

Harriet Menzel, Senior Strategic Account Manager at Springpod said of the specially designed online platform: "The students will be able to use the virtual work experience programmes and the Springpod platform to gain meaningful insights into their chosen industry and engage with employers like never before. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students in a time where options are limited, and Springpod has loved being part of the project."

The six colleges taking part in the innovative and inspirational work experience programme are West London College, the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, West Thames College, Buckinghamshire College Group, HCUC (Harrow and Uxbridge College) and Brooklands College.

David Warnes, Deputy Principal for West London College, said: “Participating in this programme gives students the opportunity to develop their skills, tap into fantastic insights in a huge variety of business sectors, which will prepare them for successful employment in their future careers.

“The project is funded by the DfE College Collaboration Fund, designed to enable colleges to work together to share good practice and to address common priorities. 

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