ABOVE: A summer school at Norwich Airport, funded by the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund, will offer students the opportunity to help build the Nuncats ‘Electric Sky Jeep’ 

During a visit to Norwich Airport, Aviation Minister Baroness Vere announced an additional £750,000 of government funding to “encourage young people to consider a career in aviation”; part of the ‘Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund’.

First announced in 2022, the fund aims to “break down barriers for those who have previously struggled to get a foothold in the aviation industry”, including those from under-privileged backgrounds or under-represented groups. By ensuring the workforce is open to a diverse variety of people, it’s hoped this initiative “will bring fresh perspectives and innovative solutions to the table, enabling the industry to adapt and thrive”.

Funding will be allocated to a variety of outreach programs and events across the UK with Baroness Vere describing the investment as “crucial” to help support both the aviation industry and the wider economy. “The government is dedicated to working with the industry to ensure that jobs in the aviation sector are accessible to everyone,” she concluded.

Richard Pace, Managing Director of Norwich Airport, noted he was “delighted” to be showcasing “some of the exciting work already happening in and around Norwich Airport”. One such project is Norfolk-based social enterprise NUNCATS, builders of the first British electric light aircraft, which was allocated £130,000 from the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund for a summer school at the airport’s academy.

In 2022, the Reach for the Sky Challenge Fund helped finance outreach programmes and events with a total of eleven non-profit organisations. These included Aerobility, the British Gliding Association, Flight Crowd, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Air League. The CAA will now be working with this year’s potential recipients through its STEM team to allocate the remaining funding among the successful applicants.