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Grace Academy Solihull wins Birmingham Airport's ‘Launch an Airline’ Challenge

Posted 13 March 2018 · Add Comment

A new eco-friendly airline concept developed by students from Chelmsley Wood has been awarded first place in The Birmingham Airport ‘Launch an Airline’ Challenge.

The winning team of six Year 10 airline rookies from Grace Academy Solihull pitched their persuasive new ‘green’ concept to a panel of five judges from Birmingham Airport in a cross-school business challenge.

Forty-one Year 10 students studying GCSE Business took part in the challenge involving 6 teams from Cockshut Hill School, John Henry Newman Catholic College and Grace Academy Solihull.

The students were tasked with launching an airline involving coming up with an airline name, brand and logo, and researching a new target market, financial plan and proposed destinations.

Customers on the winning eco-friendly ‘European Airlines’ flights would enjoy interiors made with 100% recyclable materials, reduced noise pollution during take-off and landing, the opportunity to buy Fair Trade goods, and eco-friendly fuel.

Student Alfie McHugo from the winning team, said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the Birmingham Airport Challenge and learning about the aviation industry. My team and I researched the airline industry and used this information to come up with a new eco-friendly airline concept. The challenge really helped me to strengthen my presentation and team-work skills.”

The panel of judges included Sarah Collyer, Communications Officer at Birmingham Airport, who said: “We chose Grace Academy Solihull as the overall winners as they really presented something original and different to us with their consideration of eco-friendly aircrafts and on-board products.
“Their delivery was professional and clear and we really felt that they considered all the points we had guided them to take into consideration. Other schools also did extremely well and there were some lovely ideas raised.”
Andy Holding, Corporate Responsibility Manager at Birmingham Airport, commented: “It was great to be able to bring the students to the airport for this exercise to get them thinking about the commercial side of aviation in an airport setting. We were impressed by the level of team work shown and the original ideas many of the schools presented.
“Assisting local schools with their curriculum by opening up our learning hub facility and involving airport staff really shows our commitment to corporate social responsibility and giving back to local communities.”

Nancy Sira, Head of Business Studies at Grace Academy Solihull said that taking part in The Birmingham Airport Challenge had been an extremely valuable and exciting opportunity for students, adding: “The challenge allowed students to develop many transferable skills such as communication, team-work and research, all skills that will be extremely valuable in the workforce. Students found it really insightful working with local employer Birmingham Airport and delving deeper into the world of aviation and all the jobs associated with the airport.”

The winning team of Grace Academy students were Alfie McHugo, Amelia McKeever, Shelby Howells, Daniel Cliff, Ben Hughes and Elliott Cusack, who were each awarded a £20 Amazon Gift card and a box of chocolates.

The day was organised by Ahead Partnership, who aim to connect employers with education and public and private sector partners to widen their community impact.  The Challenge is part of the Ahead Partnership’s ‘Make the Grade’ programme which has benefitted over 100,000 young people so far. 

Explaining the value of challenges like this for local students, Stephanie Burras CBE, Chief Executive, Ahead Partnership, said: “Joining employers and schools together to help students work on a real-life challenge like this is what our ‘Make the Grade’ programme is all about. Students learn from the business professionals and build and recognise those core employability skills that will stand them in excellent stead for their future careers. We’re delighted to have Birmingham Airport as a visionary and dedicated partner making experiences like this happen for young people in Birmingham.”


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