Posted on: 14 October 2015 by Ross McSweeny
easyJet has officially opened its new training facility ‘The easyJet Gatwick Academy’, a £2.7 million investment built to accommodate easyJet’s continued growth.
The facility comprises classrooms, a cabin simulator, evacuation slide and fire training rig. It is located within Concorde House at London Gatwick Airport and will train easyJet pilots and crew from bases across Europe. easyJet currently has crew based in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal and from 2016 Spain.
easyJet chief executive Carolyn McCall (left in photo) also announced that easyJet will recruit 1,140 crew over the next year with a split of approximately 830 cabin crew and 310 pilots. There will be job opportunities for both pilots and crew at all easyJet's bases across the UK – Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle, Southend and Stansted.
As well as training new pilots and cabin crew, around 7,000 current easyJet crew complete annual recurrent training. Around 60% of this training will now take place at the new easyJet Gatwick Academy with the remainder being delivered at easyJet’s existing training facility in Luton.
As part of its commitment to develop its people, over the coming year easyJet will also promote 200 cabin crew to cabin managers and 140 co-pilots to captains.
"I am delighted to see the opening of the easyJet Gatwick Academy which is a modern state-of-the-art facility that enables us to continue to train our pilots and crew to the highest international standards at a time when the airline continues to grow,” McCall remarked. “We are fully committed to nurturing new talent and there are plenty of development opportunities available.
easyJet has also launched a new initiative to increase the recruitment of female pilots. Just over 5% of easyJet's 2,500 pilots are female – in line with the industry as a whole. Currently women make up 6% of easyJet’s new pilot intake. The airline plans to double the proportion of female new entrants to 12% over two years.
As part of the programme easyJet will promote the career of a pilot to young women in a number of ways. The airline will highlight the opportunities of pilot careers to female audiences such as school groups and other youth organisations – building on the work easyJet already does in mentoring young women. It will work in partnership with organisations which promote female take-up of STEM (science, engineering, technology and maths) subjects.
The carrier will work with easyJet’s pilot training providers to attract more women to apply for the easyJet cadet programme and will offer 10 places for women each year on the easyJet pilot training programme with the around £100,000 training loan underwritten by easyJet.
easyJet has also committed to provide additional support to develop and retain female pilots, so that more of them can go on to achieve captaincy and pilot management roles.
To achieve this easyJet will run a series of activities including enhanced mentoring for female pilots (in addition to current mentoring for all pilots); underwriting training loans for A320 type ratings for female pilots entering from other airlines; and developing female captains to help them take on leadership roles such as training and base management roles.
Brian Tyrrell, head of flight operations at easyJet, commented, “At easyJet we value diversity and we believe that having a workforce which better reflects our customers will help support our future success. We have made sustained progress in our senior management and M&A (management and administration) communities in recent years but we recognise that the proportion of our pilots who are female is too low, as it is across the industry as a whole.
“Our initial focus will be to increase the pipeline of female pilots, including by talking to young women who may not have considered it as a career,” he continued. “This is a long term strategy, which we hope will eventually lead to easyJet recruiting, retaining and developing many more female pilots.”