The aviation industry has recently taken a big hit from Covid-19, but as restrictions begin to ease a surge in travel is expected. This means that demand for airport employees is high, so London Southend Airport held a virtual careers fair highlighting the wide variety of opportunities in aviation.
Those who have never seen the behind the scenes work that it takes to keep an airport running may not be aware of how many different jobs are out there. Just to name a few, roles include air traffic control, fuelling, car parking, security, ground maintenance, firefighting, cleaning, rail, accounting, and technical services.
Stuart Moodie has been Head of People at Southend Airport since May of 2021. He describes why he loves the job and what it takes to make it in the industry.
“I’ve worked in aviation for several years, and you always end up doing a myriad of things. I think that what I enjoy most about working here is that no day is the same – in fact no hour is the same,” Moodie says.
A key advantage of working in aviation, Moodie says, is the flexibility and career advancement opportunities that come with working as part of a growing team.
“You have so many opportunities here. You can come in to do a part-time job which may suit your life as it is now, knowing that in a couple of years’ time if your life changes then there will be opportunities here,” Moodie says, “It’s important that we help our employees grow as the airport grows.”
Because of the multitudinous opportunities at Southend Airport, there is no single thing which can guarantee a successful application. Training can often happen on the job, so Moodie says that the success or failure of an application often comes down to personal traits.
“The biggest attributes we look for in candidates are a good attitude, positivity, and an ability and a willingness to learn,” Moodie says, “If you come in with the attitude of teamwork and you’re friendly and professional, we’ll give you the skills you need to learn and thrive.”
One of the more well-known aspects of aviation is air traffic control, which means ensuring safety and expediency for aircraft arriving at and departing from the airport. Henry Spurgeon has been an air traffic controller at Southend Airport for nearly ten years. He enjoys the variety of situations he faces on a daily basis, as it keeps the working experience fresh and interesting.
“I most enjoy working here for the variations throughout the days – there are no same days,” Spurgeon says, “I started as an air traffic control assistant with no experience, and since then I’ve progressed through my training and become a bona fide air traffic controller.”
The primary focus of air traffic control is safety, so Spurgeon says that applicants should be focused and able to follow complex regulations. However, that does not mean that you need years of experience before you can enter the industry.
“Aviation as a whole is a wide and varied industry and starting off as an air traffic control assistant is a great way to expose yourself to it,” Spurgeon says, “For anyone who’s thinking of a role at Southend, I’d say to come with a bit of interest and passion in aviation. Someone hoping to work within air traffic control would need a bit of background in aviation, a knowledge of aircraft and how they operate, and a key passion and ability to follow rules and ensure safety.”
Security is another essential part of airport operations, and it reaches far beyond the passenger screening which most people are familiar with. Siobhan Walters is Head of Security and Terminal Operations at Southend, and she says that applicants can find solid careers in the industry with nothing more than a willingness to learn.
“My main responsibilities are to oversee the security aspects of cargo, terminal, rail, surface access, and I also conduct training,” Walters says, adding a message for potential applicants, “Do your research and try to scope out the area, but don’t be afraid to apply because you don’t need lots of qualifications. You just need to have a great personality, and you need to be open thinking and forward.”
Successful applicants will have many benefits available to them, including onsite free parking, a pension scheme, retail discounts, accredited training programmes, and a cycle to work scheme. CEO Glyn Jones says that Southend Airport is committed to helping employees through their careers with ample opportunity for advancement.
“We want every employee to be able to fulfil their potential,” Jones says, “We are passionate about creating a culture of continuous development, and we actively promote lifelong learning in combination with taking on new challenges.”
Whether you dream of becoming a member of the flight crew or prefer to keep your feet on the ground as a mechanic, air traffic controller, or any of the many other essential airport roles, there is a good career to be had in aviation.
If you would like to explore the roles available at Southend Airport, you can view the current list of vacancies here: https://esken.pinpointhq.com/#js-careers-jobs-block