Department for Transport supports the Air League to inspire future aviators and engineers


The Air League has been awarded grant funding from the Department for Transport to support its flagship Soaring to Success and National Youth Plane Building initiatives. The two programmes will provide a major boost to the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) agenda of the UK’s aviation and aerospace industries to positively influence the career outcomes of many thousands of young people across the UK. 

Soaring to Success

Soaring to Success is an inspirational activity, which is the largest scale programme of its type in the UK and is designed to immerse young people into the aviation and aerospace industries. Stage 1 modules showcase the vast range of opportunities and routes into the industry and are typically delivered by the Air League and corporate partners including British Airways, Boeing, DHL and Rolls-Royce. The programme, which will be extended around the UK, progresses to provide actual experiences of gliding and powered flight and, for a small number of young people, will deliver a further boost to their career ambitions through a 5 or 12 hour Air League flying scholarship.

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Against a backdrop of a difficult year for the UK, its young people and the aviation industry, the DfT’s backing for the Air League enables Soaring to Success and the National Youth Plane Building programme to become nationally significant and deliver enduring benefits to skills in the industry.

Nick West, Chief Executive of the Air League

Project Slingshot

The National Youth Plane Building Programme, known as Project Slingshot, takes a unique approach, in being focused on a professional build standard delivered by actively mentored young people. This is made possible by drawing upon expertise within the RAF Sport Aircraft charitable organisation, the aviation and aerospace industries and the Light Aircraft Association, as well as the selection of an aircraft which offers Night Flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions. The aircraft is intended to be utilised for military cadet and other youth organisations’ ab initio flying and will benefit several thousand young people over a typical 25-year service lifetime. Standardisation on the building of highly capable modern aircraft will provide numerous benefits including value for money, fuel efficiency, range and a valuable learning experience for the young people involved in building these aircraft. The Air League is building a network of partners to deliver the programme which ensures the maximum impact on young people, along with the greatest possible long-term benefit to the UK’s aviation and aerospace industries, the armed forces and the general aviation community. Project Slingshot will also deploy new build and programme management techniques that will better equip the young people involved to launch their future careers.

The funding from the Department for Transport is part of the Reach for the Sky Programme, which aims to encourage people from all backgrounds into aviation careers. 

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