East Midlands Airport: CommunityMark Case Study

Located in the heart of England, award winning East Midlands Airport connects 4.5 million passengers with the world serving more than 90 destinations. As the UK’s primary pure freight airport they are home to leading airfreight and are a major air hub for the Royal Mail.  East Midlands Airport is the first airport to achieve the CommunityMark.

Inspiring future generations

A lack of opportunities for young people in education and employment is a key social issue for East Midlands Airport. Providing young people with ‘the best’ first experience of the world of work is one of the ways in which they are seeking to address this.  The Airport’s work was recently recognised when they were awarded the BITC Work Inspiration award for best practice.  Young people from local schools and colleges are afforded the opportunity to experience a one week placement working behind the scenes, spending time with air traffic control, operations, check-in terminal teams, fire section and the information desk. This year they achieved 10 work experience placements across seven different departments totalling a minimum of 327 man hours.

Secure engagement

East Midland’s Airport recognised that schools and community groups wanted to come and visit the airport but could not due to security issues.  Aerozone was developed as a solution to security problems with visitors to the site. The Aerozone education centre was opened to create a greater understanding amongst young people about what the airport does and why, providing access to the airport environment in a safe and secure way.  At the same time, it gives employees working shifts more opportunities to volunteer at the on-site centre. Success has been two-fold, since its launch in May 2010. 10 groups totalling 288 young people and teachers have visited the education centre and the opening of the centre has increased volunteering opportunities with shift workers.

Inspiring the arts

The Airport has focussed on providing more social opportunities for young people in its rural surroundings. New Horizons’ gives young people the opportunity to produce of a piece of theatre to be shown in rural venues for local communities, including a special performance sponsored by the Airport.  Over three years it has provided seven placements, seven school workshops and three traineeships.  The Art on the Trail programme engages local schools and community groups through a unique initiative developed to create a new piece of art for the airport’s perimeter trail every two years. The aim is to enhance the airports perimeter used by the local community and to engage local young people, giving them a sense of ownership. Three installations have taken place involving five local schools and youth groups.

Listening and responding

Outreach is an important part of East Midlands Airport community investment. East Midlands Airport hosts four events in local parishes each year, providing an opportunity for members of the community to voice concerns and issues regarding the aviation industry.  The events offer a foundation for East Midlands Airport to communicate and allay any confusion regarding aircraft operations and environmental impact.  Feedback has indicated that individuals welcome the opportunity to speak directly to a member from the airport team and this has reflected a reduction in complaints about aircraft noise.