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Simfly School Visits

To support schools with Gatsby Benchmark 6, an experience of a workplace, Tees Valley Combined Authority Careers Hub funded places for groups of students from 5 education establishments to take part in an experience day at Simfly in Darlington http://simfly.co.uk/

We are extremely lucky to have a space like this locally in the area, Simfly has recreated a fully immersive experience which includes a flight simulator almost identical to a Boeing 737-800 flight deck, complete with seating and overhead compartments, a check in desk, security desk and a travel agency.

Students took part in a variety of activities and role play centred around different careers in aviation.  Showcasing skills required for each role as well as how the subjects they study relate to the world of work.

  • Travel agent – sales and customer relations, basic numeracy, closing the sale, basic IT skills and knowledge of holiday destinations. Age related holidays, insurance for trips and holiday legalities.
  • Airport Check In – customer relations, checking people onto a flight, more numeracy with weight and balance of the aircraft, luggage weight calculations, security checks and boarding card instructions.
  • Border Force Security – eye for detail and suspicious looking passengers, what IS a suspicious looking passenger? illegal goods into and out of the UK, keeping calm when dealing with angry passengers, knowledge of import and export allowances.
  • Cabin crew – roles and responsibilities, first aid, dealing with irate passengers, liaising with flight crew, pre-flight demo, safety announcements, basic literacy skills, passenger checks before departure and arrival.
  • Aircraft room – flying the simulator, cockpit navigation, more elaborate numeracy, and physics skill set… forces and aerodynamic effects on the aircraft at different speed settings and heights, night flying, bad weather approaches, departures and landings, general handling, instrument flying through clouds. Students also took on the roles of an air crew member where they announced all the necessary briefings and learned how to deal with anxious passengers.

The visit also provided the students with a great opportunity to ask staff about their career pathways and job roles.

The 8 Gatsby Benchmarks are:

Gatsby Benchmark 6 – An experience of a workplace

The facility is very realistic and allowed students to experience different careers in aviation.

Gatsby Benchmark 4 – Linking Careers to the Curriculum

Students understood the importance of how Maths, English and Science linked to the different roles in aviation.

50 Students took part.

Feedback from schools:

Has the experience raised awareness of the different roles in aviation? “I think this part of the experience was key for the students. When they first attended, I think most were unaware of the different ways in which they can become a commercial pilot, perhaps only being aware of the most direct route.  Through visiting Simfly, they were given information about how it is quite common to work their work up within an organisation and impress colleagues with their communication skills and other aptitudes. Some students realised that they found enjoyment in carrying out roles involving customer service and border force security”.

It was a brilliant day and I hope I can do it again next year. Stuie and the team were amazing and so knowledgeable, and the students really engaged with them”.

“A number of students had never been aboard before or on an aeroplane, so this was a very good way to expose them to careers they have personally not experienced yet”. 

Stuie Ellerton, SimFly Director & Boeing 737-800 Flight Simulator Instructor. “We are very proud to hear that by embedding STEM and other vital learning tools that we can engage and enthuse young learners with a vision of an aviation career. SimFly only scratches the surface of a plethora of actual employment opportunities the aviation sector… a sector that is now recruiting on an unprecedented level post Covid. Moving forward we intend to create an ‘Air Traffic Control Room” for learning a little more about how pilots are given instructions on how high, how fast which direction etc to approach an airport. It’s been an absolute pleasure to engage with the young learners from Tees Valley, it’s also been an incredible learning curve for SimFly enabling us to highlight areas for improvement and future development. Our doors are always open to the combined authority and indeed to learners within. We look forward to working with yourselves in the very near future.”