The mentoring programme offers 30 young students from Bristol behind-the-scenes access to the leading aircraft manufacturer

The Airbus Foundation launched the UK’s first Flying Challenge programme last week in the hope of motivating 30 Bristol schoolchildren to pursue higher education and, perhaps, a career in aviation.

Over the course of a year, the 13 and 14 year olds from Bristol Metropolitan Academy will be granted unprecedented access to aviation design and test experts at the Airbus site in Filton.

They will be mentored by Airbus employees across 20 weekly sessions, which focus on teaching them about flight and the different jobs in aviation and develop vocational skills and practical experience in the workplace.

The Flying Challenge – which has mentored more than 1,400 young people in France, Spain and the US but never before in the UK – also offers the opportunity to see the workings of other aviation organisations. The students will visit Rolls Royce and Bristol Airport, where they can have a flying lesson.

At the launch on 14 September, they had the chance to meet British medal-winning Olympian Kriss Akabusi and French astronaut Claude Haignere, the first European woman on the International Space Station.

Trevor Higgs, UK Head of Engineering at Airbus, said: “We at Airbus in Filton are proud to be a part of these students’ lives, and look forward to seeing their talents develop over the coming year.”

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