Careers & Outreach end of year summary

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Delivering Careers support during Covid – the RAeS response 

Following the impact of Covid-19 on aerospace and aviation, a key focus of 2020 has been focusing on our careers and CV support services and switching to virtual delivery models. As the impact of the outbreak became apparent, we provided three dedicated careers webinars during May and June to provide support for early careers, experienced career professionals and pilots impacted by the crisis, featuring expert panellists from the Society’s membership and the RAeS team. Over 1,000 attended the live sessions which are now available on YouTube and have seen a further 1,500 views to date.  

We also moved our 1-2-1 appointment service online, offering free personalised support and advice to all career levels with 200+ users to date.   

We also continued to support colleges and universities across the UK with dedicated sessions including University of Nottingham, University of Sheffield, UCB, Cardiff Sixth Form College & Cranfield University to help students navigate the current circumstances and look at the key skills and qualities needed to transition to the new normal.   

Meanwhile, our annual recruitment fair, Careers in Aerospace & Aviation LIVE for the first time this year went virtual, thanks to support from Boeing, to continue to try and help connect our talented people with new opportunities, despite the challenges facing recruitment this year. We saw over 900 visitors from all over the world interact with our exhibitors including, Roxel, Air Service Training, Cranfield University, Reaction Engines, Martin-Baker & UK Space Agency through the system on the day. In addition there were interactive online talks covering careers in space, defence, urban air mobility and specific advice on CV writing and career development for all ages. We have received excellent feedback from the visitors and content from the day is also now available to view for free at who via the RAeS YouTube channel 

Inspiring our Future  

Looking ahead to recovery, we continued to find ways to inspire the next generation and promote STEM subjects. We were able to run seven Cool Aeronautics events in January and February before lockdown. Events took place at RAF Halton, Derby Airfield, Stansted Aerozone, Atlantic AirVentures (Shannon) and we held our inaugural Cool Aeronautics event in partnership with British Airways in March. Between January to March we received over 450 attendees across 13 schools in the UK and Ireland. Then followed the sad news that the UK was going into lockdown and therefore all further face-to-face events were cancelled until further notice. However, we looked at ways to continue engagement via virtual means and we recorded our first ever ‘Cool Aeronautics At Home’ webinar in July for parents, schools and children, with over 350 views to date and also available via the RAeS YouTube channel. We also worked with our radio partners Fun Kids, to promote the Amy Aviation video series with a fun competition and produced free resource packs for parents struggling with home schooling.   

In August, we were approached by a dynamic and passionate group of graduates from Leonardo Helicopters in Yeovil, who were extremely keen to keep the Cool Aeronautics momentum in their local area alive Their aim was to hold a live streamed event via virtual means to serve the young children in Yeovil and the surrounding areas, in order to inspire them with Aerospace and STEM based activities. The team got straight to work and managed to utilise modern day technology to produce a live event and then broadcast it straight into classrooms across Somerset. Yeovilton always creates the largest Cool Aeronautics event of the year, and this year was the biggest yet! Nearly 500 pupils took part and were fully equipped with all the materials and goodies that they needed to interact live with hand-on activities led by the Leonardo team. The young graduates did a fantastic job in inspiring the next generation into Aerospace and STEM, and despite the odds of the current climate, they effectively worked together to continue the legacy of Cool Aeronautics.

On behalf of RAeS we would like to say a massive thank you to the young members at the Yeovilton branch, led by Olivia Gribler for their ongoing contribution to the RAeS and its outreach activities! 

We also reviewed our next STEM Challenge, the Falcon2 Initiative, originally due for launch in March, to create a two-phase competition, with phase 1 becoming completely virtual and due to launch in January 2020 This innovative programme will aim to tackle barriers to accessing aviation and engineering through the design and build of a fully accessible flight simulator for Aerobility with the support of Boeing.   

Following participation in live careers and STEM events pre-lockdown earlier in the year, such as the Noel Turner STEM Fair with the Isle of Wight branch., we have also taken part in virtual events such as the 7th Physics Industry Recruitment event, Cranfield University Summer Careers Fair and the LikeToBe Aerospace & Engineering careers event reaching over 50 attendees.   

We were also very grateful to the UK Govt Department for Transport (DfT) who have provided a grant to develop the Society’s dedicated Careers in Aerospace website with new areas for Aviation careers and ‘AeroStories’ featuring inspirational role models will launch in January 2021.  

Diversity and inclusion 

The Society’s focus on embedding diversity and inclusion across the Society’s activities continued in 2020, led by the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group and the Women in Aerospace and Aviation Committee. We were honoured to receive the award for Best Professional Engineering Institution at the inaugural Engineering Talent Awards, organised by Equal Engineers, in September 2020. The award recognises Professional Engineering Institutions who go above and beyond to support their members, and who are particularly increasing awareness of diversity, inclusion and positive mental wellbeing.   

Our work continues to removing the barriers to inclusion within aerospace and aviation so that all voices are heard, listened to and acted upon and 2020 has seen continued emphasis on activities in support of the Society’s D&I Strategy.  

The Alta mentoring programme for women, a partnership with Airbus, RAF, UWE and Little Blue Private Jets - a blended programme based on an online matching platform and supporting events- grew to 400 users over 2020, and we organised three virtual mentoring events to connect alta mentees during Covidproviding vital support and help for women who have been particularly affected by the crisis.  

Alta logo

The Amy Johnson Lecture 2020 was also held virtually for the first time, with an inspirational and thought-provoking talk from keynote speaker Grazia Vittadini FRAeS which attracted over 400 attendees and is available to view on YouTube.  Society members also took part in a virtual aerospace panel for Stemettes, an outreach organisation which encourages girls and young women into STEM careers. The Society also supported the Women in Aviation and Aerospace Charter who commissioned leading consultancy Korn Ferry to produce new research on gender balance in aerospace and aviation, “Propelling a Gender Balanced Industry”.  

The Society also produced an action plan in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, which received overwhelming support from members, and organised a webinar with engineers from BAME communities to share their experiences which was featured at Farnborough Connect. To celebrate Black History Month in October we produced a series of features highlighting the achievements of RAeS members from black communities. The LSB also approved the creation of a new Named Lecture, the Mary Jackson Lecture in honour of Mary W Jackson, the first female black aerospace engineer at NASA and the inaugural event will take place in January 2020. 

Collaboration on D&I continued with the RAeS Specialist Groups and 2021 will see a webinar with aerospace professionals from the LGBTQ+ community talking about issues ranging from LGBT representation in aerospace/aviation; why D&I matters, mental health and other relevant areas to mark LGBT STEM Day.   

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