High Flyers Check Into New Learning Centre

A unique education centre for young people featuring a life-size aircraft cabin mock-up will open its doors to 90 students on Wednesday, October 20.

The £250,000 centre near Heathrow has been designed to help young people aged 5 to 19 develop the skills they need to find jobs in the local community. More than 9,000 students are expected to visit the centre over the coming year.

The British Airways Community Learning Centre will be officially opened by the Right Honourable Estelle Morris MP, Minister of State for School Standards and Bob Ayling, Chief Executive of British Airways, who will be served cabin refreshments by youngsters from local schools trying out their customer service skills.

The children will also practice cabin announcements over the public address system in up to 13 different languages.

The centre has been designed in consultation with teachers to support a range of national curriculum programmes including languages, marketing and business studies. The emphasis is on practical hands-on experience that illustrates the relevance of national curriculum subjects to pupils` lives.


As well as the cabin mock-up, the facility features an arrivals lounge where students role play customer service agents in different languages, and an IT suite with computer systems used for check-in and baggage handling. On opening day, a group of hearing-impaired students will be working in the Brands and Marketing area designing an airport lounge for kids with help from `signing` cabin crew.

Tim Phillips, British Airways Head of Community Relations said: “Rather than presenting a cheque and walking away we wanted to do something meaningful in partnership with the community. The centre provides an ideal setting for young people to learn about the world of work and to develop their skills in key areas such as languages, cultural awareness, customer service, IT, marketing and team skills.”

The centre has been funded by British Airways with support from the Hayes and West Drayton Partnership which promotes economic growth and business development in the Hillingdon area.