This week marks Volunteers’ Week, a chance to recognise the amazing contribution that volunteers make to local communities. To mark the occasion, I spoke to a few of our employees about their experiences of volunteering for various charities.

In 2018, NATS launched its partnership with the Jon Egging Trust, a charity which supports young people at risk of dropping out of education overcome adversity and realise their potential. They deliver accredited programmes to help develop young people’s life and work skills. NATS supports JET by running a variety of sessions, providing an insight into the world of air traffic control. Read more about what Martin Smith, NATS Safety Assurance Consultant, had to say about his experience of volunteering for the Jon Egging Trust (JET):

“I volunteer for JET, a charity set up in 2012 in memory of Red Arrows pilot Jon Egging, who lost his life following a display at the Bournemouth Air Show in 2011. I first got involved with the Trust around 10 years ago whilst serving in the RAF as a military air traffic controller at Swanwick but have continued this work since I joined NATS in 2015.  Having learnt lots of skills during my RAF career, I felt I was able to help these young people overcome the challenges life throws at them.

Much of my work with JET is helping to run JET’s Dorset and Hampshire programmes. Run in conjunction with the Trust’s staff, we offer help to students on their three-year development programme (called Blue Skies) and provide outreach activities to schools in the local area. The Blue Skies programme gives the young people selected an opportunity to learn from inspirational adults. These students are typically from backgrounds or situations that result in significant barriers to learning.

The students spend approximately four months a year working with the Trust over the course of three years. They meet inspiring mentors from the military and businesses in Hampshire and Dorset to learn about teamwork, communication and leadership skills. Eventually, the students celebrate with a graduation ceremony where they tell the audience about their achievements and experiences and what they have gained from the programme.

The success of the Blue Skies programme is evident from the testimony of the young people involved and I have heard some really positive stories from students over the years.

Our outreach activities range from visits to schools to deliver lessons to hosting groups on visits to our offices. Although our face-to-face activities have been curtailed over the last year, we are set to commence visits to schools in June this year. I am really excited to engage with these young people once again.”

Find out more about JET on their website.


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