An aspiring pilot’s career is taking off thanks to an opportunity to work with some of the region’s high-flying experts.
Luke Kime, from Redcar, is currently studying Level 2 Travel and Tourism at Middlesbrough College, as well as undergoing a private pilot licence (PPL) accreditation with Scenic Air Tours North East.
And the 17-year-old’s ambitions to become a professional commercial pilot reached new heights earlier this year when he took on his first solo flight.
He has since logged more than 50 hours of flying, taken on a work experience placement with the Durham Tees Valley Airport based tour provider, and has been recognised by his tutors as Student of the Year at the Travel, Aviation and Public Service Student Awards.
Chris Everrett, owner and Head of Training at Scenic Air Tours North East, was on hand to present Luke with the award, for demonstrating exceptional commitment, attendance, motivation, and excelling in his grades.
Chris said: “Luke’s passion for aviation was evident from the moment he started his PPL training with us – and I was honoured to present him with this award to celebrate his outstanding achievements.
“His knowledge and skills really impressed us, and it’s clear the course at Middlesbrough College is helping him build the foundations for a successful career in travel.
“Alongside his studies, he approached us to carry out a work experience placement and we jumped at the opportunity. We know how important hands on experience is – especially in our industry – and we’re proud to be playing our part in inspiring the next generation.”
Aiming to sit his PPL skill test later this summer, Luke’s now one step closer to his dream career.
He said: “I was so shocked when I found out I’d won Student of the Year, but it feels like my hard work is paying off.
“I’ve always dreamt of being a pilot, and was inspired at a young age by watching planes take off and land at the airport, and traveling with my family.
“Through my studies and work placements, I’m able to experience it from the other side and learn first-hand what it takes to work in the travel industry – and I know I’ve made the right decision.
“Middlesbrough College’s facilities are the best around – they even have a mock plane fuselage on campus – and the teachers are experts at what they do.
“I couldn’t be where I am without their support and the opportunities available to me, through their contacts like Scenic Air Tours North East – I can’t wait to progress on to Level 3 and then my commercial exams.”
Middlesbrough College offers a variety of courses in travel, tourism and aviation and through its partnerships, students have access to training in Durham Tees Valley and other UK airports as well as opportunities to travel to places like New York and Dubai to gain experience in the international tourism sector.
Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “We’re incredibly proud of Luke and all of our travel, aviation and public service students.
“One of my favourite duties as principal is being able to present them with awards in recognition of their achievements.
“With strong links to industry – such as our partnership with Scenic Air Tours North East – Middlesbrough College can offer first class routes to exciting and fulfilling careers.”
After the success of Luke’s placement, Scenic Air Tours North East is hoping to offer more students an insight into the world of work.
Chris added: “We understand how valuable learning ‘on the job’ can be to a young person’s development and work readiness, and we’ll continue to work with the College to help more student’s careers take off.”