Aviation Action, a new UK charity with a global reach, www.aviationaction.org is formally launching this week. It has been created for aviation professionals who have suddenly found themselves out of work as a result of cutbacks sparked by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Its founder is Chris Wild (Head of Airfield Operations, Manchester Airport, UK). Within just a few weeks of sharing his idea, he has successfully garnered a blend of peer support members, each with specialist aviation expertise.
Early supporters and donators have included Bristol Airport, Lincs Lining Limited, British Aviation Group, Osprey Consulting Services, AIRDAT and Dedrone, to name just a few. More, international members are coming in as the initiative gathers momentum.
Action Aviation’s mission, to be delivered by mentors, is to provide support, coaching, training and advice to anyone in the aviation industry who has been affected by the events of the last four months, from mental health and debt issues, through to family, relationships and well being.
Those in touch so far are primarily from the engineering/aviation services sector, together with out of work cabin crew. Aviation Action is bringing together the whole aviation spectrum – from air charter personnel to baggage-loaders, planners and caterers, cargo-specialists, pilots, marshallers and more. “Aviation is very diverse, but businesses often inter-relate with each other which helps enormously with peer support activities.”
“At a time when the industry desperately needs significant support, we found there is an evident lack of specific support available for the hundreds of thousands of people who work in aviation,” commented Chris Wild.
“Our role is to convince recruiters that aviation sector skills are transferrable to any other industry. What has become apparent is that there is often a lack of belief that these skills can be transferred at all,” he highlighted.
As far as possible, any support, including guidance with CVs and interview skills are undertaken ‘in-house’, using the expertise of the Aviation Action team.
Early mentor scheme
Aviation Action is also pleased to be launching an early career mentor scheme for school, college and university leavers to help them with their transition into a working career in aviation. The charity has already started a series of webinars to offer advice for those entering the industry and the journey into employment.
Aviation Action is also supporting military personnel in the transition to civil aviation, as well as ex-military that have been made redundant and looking for their next career move. Furthering women in aviation and the growing number of diversity groups is also a key wish.
“Donations from aviation companies are paramount of course, to help support more people in the wider aviation community,” noted Chris. “The services our team are offering are all free, so the donations we receive are going towards securing support for the people that really need it, whether that is mentor support to obtain new employment following a Covid-19 redundancy, or tackling an ongoing mental health issue.”
The charity is already helping over 500 people with the support or advice they need.
Board of Trustees
The Aviation Action trustee board has a broad range of individuals, each with unique and diverse experience or skills in aviation or in the mental health profession. Each has a defined role, which enables ongoing operation of the charity but also the right level of strategic drive and forward planning. The charity has two regional advisory boards (North and South) containing another diverse range of individuals from a range of backgrounds including recruiters, airports and ex-military staff, including early career ambassadors.
“The impact of Covid-19 across the globe has seen thousands of redundancies, lay-offs, collapses, withdrawal of services, fear and anxiety across the aviation world which in turn has impacted so many others,” said Chris. “Livelihoods have been lost and whole businesses have been forced to either be put on hold forcing a cash-flow crisis, or wound down completely.
In my own sector, the devastating effect on airport operations has left airfields looking like ghost towns, as operators either shut down, leaving their airliners parked in eerie rows, or fly them off to designated airfields where they can be stored awaiting either redeployment, retirement from service or the scrapyard.
We encourage our industry to come together during this turbulent period to support the wider community,” Chris added.