Students at the radar control screen

Over the last six months, I’ve been working with our partners at the Jon Egging Trust (JET) to coordinate workshops for students from Dorset and Hampshire schools as part of JET’s Blue Skies Programme.

Supported by colleagues across NATS, the workshops see young people from disadvantaged backgrounds take part in practical learning sessions. The sessions centre around developing skills such as teamwork, communication and leadership, inspiring the students to re-engage with education and build the confidence and resilience they will need for the workplace.

We’ve welcomed over one hundred JET students through our doors this school year, and it’s been so rewarding being able to give them a flavour of life at NATS. There have been talks with the air traffic controllers (ATCOs), colleagues sharing their career journeys (which are rarely straightforward), and the chance to experience controlling aircraft in the simulation suite. It’s amazing to think that some of NATS’ future employees may have been with us on these JET days.

Core themes provided the backbone for each JET session, but there were lots of additional elements helping to shape them too. A personal highlight was a shelter building challenge where we only had newspaper and tape to complete the task. The students took it all in their stride and quickly got to work allocating roles and coming up with an approach. Working with people they didn’t know didn’t phase anyone, and among it all everyone soon realised that we can’t be afraid to make mistakes. At the heart of it all was good communications and respect for one another, allowing each person space to share their thoughts and input without judgement.

Paper sorting, red cup stacking exercises

Each group of students really immersed themselves into the sessions. I was blown away by their engagement and levels of enthusiasm, their willingness to have a go and step out of their comfort zone when asked.

My hope for our JET visitors, and any young person reading this, is that they’re reassured that career paths can be ‘squiggly’ rather than linear, that there are no silly questions, and that failing builds resilience and is how we learn, so don’t be afraid of it.

I’m looking forward to meeting the students again as they progress through the Blue Skies programme, and I’m thankful to have been able to play a small part in their journey at NATS.

About the Jon Egging Trust 

Founded in 2011 by Dr Emma Egging OBE, following the tragic death of her husband, Red Arrows pilot Flt Lt Jon Egging, the Jon Egging Trust (JET) supports vulnerable young people to build social and emotional learning skills and reengage with education.

Over the past decade, JET has supported more than 40,000 young lives through its long-term Blue Skies programmes which build confidence, resilience, employability skills and aspiration, and link students to inspiring STEM workplaces and relatable role models who allow them to think differently about their futures. Blue Skies programmes are delivered in partnership with JET’s network of high profile corporate and military partners across the UK.


Please respect our commenting policy and guidelines when posting on this website.

Leave a Reply


Please start typing and we will search our website for you.

Search Results