Children at Thomas Bennett Community College in Crawley and Pentrehafod School in Swansea have completed Virgin Atlantic’s Passport to Change programme. 

After participating in the programme over the course of the 2021-22 school year, the children, ranging from ages 12-15 have been awarded with completion certificates in a ceremony held at Gatwick Aviation Museum and Swansea Airport.

Passport to Change is Virgin Atlantic’s flagship community STEM programme. This year, children have had the opportunity to learn from the airline’s brilliant teams from across the company including airports & clubhouses, finance and cargo who have shared insight into their world. Many of the students have completed the programme with a project aimed at designing their own airline.

Virgin Atlantic recognises that there is a shortage of young people studying subjects that will help them develop skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), especially in economically deprived areas. There’s also a gender imbalance, with far fewer girls choosing to study STEM subjects than boys.

Estelle Hollingworth, Chief People Officer at Virgin Atlantic commented:

“Here at Virgin Atlantic we believe that everyone can take on the world. We encourage an inclusive environment where everyone feels a sense of belonging; where our people, our customers and our partners are united, and minority groups are represented. 

“We want the careers of the future to be inclusive to all, regardless of gender, race, or economic status. Through Passport to Change, we set out to address some of the issues preventing this by inspiring young people to achieve their dreams. I am incredibly proud of our teams and all the students that have participated this year, and I congratulate them on this achievement.”

Virgin Atlantic delivers the programme with three charity partners; Speakers for Schools assist with the programme delivery, The Smallpeice Trust is a STEM expert partner, and the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency) is the airline’s international partner.

Virgin Atlantic plans to run the Passport to Change programme throughout the 2022-23 academic year.