Gary Griffiths is Head of Early Careers at Airbus in the UK, with responsibility for apprentice, graduate and intern programmes in addition to looking after 600 young people across two sites. In this role he has worked closely with government departments within DfES and BIS, as well as sitting on a number of advisory bodies such as the Aerospace Sector Strategy Skills Group. He also represents Airbus in the UK on the Airbus Strategic International Project for Skills and the Airbus Intercultural Competency Programme.
On 9th December the second Airbus Industrial Cadets programme was launched at Broughton to introduce girls to basic engineering and manufacturing in order to encourage the take-up of science and technology subjects.
Airbus is proud to support the Industrial Cadets Environment Go4Set Project in Broughton again this year and we hope the programme will give the cadets the momentum to pursue future careers within the wider engineering manufacturing sector. We anticipate that providing the students demonstrate the right skills and qualifications, they can achieve highly successful careers in aerospace engineering, regardless of gender.
Background to the programme
Industrial Cadets is a scheme that aims to raise awareness of local career opportunities in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, as well as developing employability skills and, crucially, raising the aspirations of young people. Around 160 girls from the Filton, Bristol and Broughton, North Wales areas have already graduated as cadets at Bronze Level through Airbus’ Environment Project, and a further 72 have joined us for the next Broughton programme.
Airbus got involved because it fits well with our active educational outreach programme, which includes work experience and school visits. With the Industrial Cadets, Airbus can set a challenge to a group of students, and see them develop, work hard with support from an Airbus mentor and deliver a project to their peers and to Airbus assessors.
When we ran this for the first time in Broughton, local schools were invited to put forward 12 female pupils, so the 70 students came from six schools local to the site. Airbus is a big employer in the area, so the students will have heard of us, and it is easier for them to visit us to see what we do.
Why a diverse workforce is important to Airbus
Diversity fosters innovation, performance and engagement. Airbus is only the success it is today because we embraced diversity and worked together across cultures to develop our innovative products. We must attract the best talents and skills no matter where they come from and increasing the diversity of the workforce will widen the pool of potential employees.
Work we are doing on diversity on an international basis
We are looking at this internationally, and at Airbus Group level too. We are determined to increase the number of women we recruit to 25% and the number of women in senior management positions to 20% in 2020.
Employees from all of the Airbus Group divisions work with schools and institutions to enhance opportunities and encourage women to discover the world of aeronautical engineering. We have existing partnerships with a number of events and associations such as Girls day, Elles Bougent, Les Elles du Future, Femtec, Airemploi, MINT, WISE and WES, as well as Masters programme sponsorships at key universities in Spain.
Retaining female talent at Airbus
In 2011 we launched a programme called GROW working with talented women in the early-to-mid level stages of their careers for senior management positions. The programme offered a forum for women to openly exchange ideas, build confidence and develop a support network. GROW has now been integrated into an Airbus Group inclusive Leadership programme open to everyone.
Airbus has amalgamated its nine women’s networks into one network called “Balance for Business”, which is the first Airbus Group network that is truly trans-national, trans-division and trans-functional. This network aims to contribute to Airbus Group strategy 2.0 of focusing on profitability and value creation, adapting to a more global world as well as attracting and retaining talented people from all parts of the world.
Promoting better gender balance at all levels of the organisation is important because the company believes that “differences make the difference”. Making gender balance a reality is important to our company.
Other projects moving forward
Here in the UK we will continue to work with schools and colleges, and coming up next year we are headline sponsor of TeenTech North Wales and Cheshire in May, our graduates will be at Big Bang in March and we will be supporting National Women in Engineering Day on 23 June.