School begins Business Class at Belfast International Airport

20 Jan 2016

Eighty teachers and staff from Boys’ Model School in north Belfast have visited the airport on a fact-finder trip as part of Business in the Community NI’s Business Class programme. The programme is designed to build long-term strategic partnerships between local schools and businesses and this is the start of the new school-airport partnership.

The educational link-up got underway at the nearby Maldron Hotel with an overview from the management team and a specially produced video, edited by Evan Taylor, one of the airport’s Fire Station Crew Commanders. The video showed our wide of on-site jobs including finance, commercial, operations, engineering, HR and our apprentices in training.

The guests were told about the work of Air Traffic Controllers, Airport Duty Managers, fire fighters and the accounts department. 

The Boys’ Model group also heard about the work that is done to attract new airlines and develop new routes and, of course, the important jobs undertaken by security. The full operation of the airport involving airside retail and food and beverage outlets helped to broaden understanding of the airport and how it contributed to the Northern Ireland economy.

Airport staff were on hand to talk about the qualifications required for certain jobs and how pupils could best prepare for fulfilling careers in a dynamic business environment.

An extensive tour was undertaken, capped, it has to be said, by a visit to the Fire Station. Here, teachers were very enthusiastic to see the hi-tech tenders and equipment, and to learn how everything worked.

Jaclyn Coulter is our Human Resources Manager and she was delighted with the visit and the level of interest shown.  

Jaclyn added: “A visit like this is worthwhile as it gives us the opportunity to talk about what we do and the very extensive jobs and disciplines at the site. We’ve over 4,000 pass holders - that’s 4,000 jobs, from the Information Pod in Arrivals to the easyJet crew on the Gatwick service.

“The range and type of jobs surprise people, and that’s good as it may encourage teachers to point young people to the employment opportunities that are available whenever they’re considering careers.

“The relationship we have with Boys’ Model is a first for the airport, and I know the school values the link as it broadens understanding of what our business has to offer, and how that can deliver real benefits for its pupils.”

At the event, Michael Hancock, one of the Boys’ Model teachers, said “The airport showed us all the roles that the airport needs simply to keep operating. We can bring this information back to the classroom to show the pupils what is required and exactly how Belfast International Airport links in to the economy of Northern Ireland.”  

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