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Six colleges have worked together this lockdown to ensure their students don’t miss out on any work experience opportunities during these times. Over one thousand 16-18-year olds took part in the virtual work experience programme funded by the Department for Education (DFE), starting on 22 February 2021. Young people received online webinars to demonstrate the latest technologies in their business sectors and show them best practice from Top employers.

A Welcome Webinar for the students and their teachers, hosted by Springpod and Heathrow kicked off the work experience programme at the start of National Apprenticeships Week 2021 – Monday, 8 February. Funded through the DfE College Collaboration Fund, Springpod began developing the online solution to provide virtual work experience in September 2020.

There was a number of different airport-based employers who took part, known collectively as ‘Team Heathrow’. These employers are from diverse sectors such as engineering, construction, marketing, IT and business solutions. 

The Team Heathrow employers demonstrated how they work together to ensure the smooth running of the UK’s hub airport, as well as showing some of the key roles in their sector and the skills needed to succeed.

Poorvi Patel, Head of Education, Employment & Skills at Heathrow, said: “COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on young people. That’s why we are proud to be working with our Team Heathrow partners to develop a high-quality virtual work experience programme for young people keen to learn more about a career in aviation. The programme will enable students to develop their employability skills, fuel their ambitions and gain an insight into the UK’s only hub airport. The new programme will help to support local communities affected by the pandemic – one of the key commitments set out in the Heathrow Local Economic Recovery Plan.”

Springpod developed the online platform for the project and enabled the work experience students to watch videos and take part in a whole host of interactive webinars and quizzes, relating to construction, engineering, business, marketing, sustainability and IT. Harriet Menzel, Senior Strategic Account Manager at Springpod said of the specially designed online platform:”The colleges’ students will be able to use the virtual work experience programmes and the Springpod platform to gain meaningful insights into their chosen industry and engage with employers like never before. It’s a fantastic opportunity for students in a time where options are limited, and Springpod has loved being part of the project.”

The six colleges that took part in the innovative and inspirational work experience programme are Buckinghamshire College Group, Brooklands College, West London College, the Windsor Forest Colleges Group, West Thames College and HCUC (Harrow and Uxbridge College). Richard Kirkham Executive Director for Buckinghamshire College Group, said " This opportunity will grow our virtual placement opportunities into new sectors in partnership with Heathrow , providing excellent experiences for our students."

The project is funded by the DfE College Collaboration Fund, designed to enable colleges to work together to share good practice and to address common priorities.

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