An 18 year old construction pro, a sports-mad plasterer and an aviation studies student are among the first people to land a job working on the transformation of Manchester Airport.

Work started on the £1bn project – the largest infrastructure scheme in the North – earlier this year, with 1,500 new jobs set to be created.

The Airport’s on-site academy joined forces with main contractor Laing O’Rourke to deliver a specially-tailored course for those wanting to work on the scheme.

Now, the first cohort of students, who range in age, background and experience, have secured roles working on the transformation and will start on site in the New Year. All live locally and were out of full-time work before being given the opportunity.

Overseeing the graduation was Manchester Airport’s CEO Andrew Cowan, who said: “Our investment in Manchester Airport will give the North the world class international gateway it deserves.

“But it will also do a huge amount to boost the regional economy by creating jobs, tackling local unemployment and driving up skill levels, ensuring the transformation leaves a lasting legacy.

“That is why it is pleasing to see the first wave of people fill newly-created roles on the project and I congratulate them on passing their course and securing a job with Laing O’Rourke.

“This is just one example of the many initiatives we have on site for people to gain access to employment across the entire airport campus.

“With construction progressing rapidly, there will be many more opportunities for people to train in the skills they need to play a part in creating a bigger and better Manchester Airport.”

The Rt Hon Mike Kane MP said: “It is great to see the investment Manchester Airport is making is bringing real benefits to the area by creating jobs for local people, especially those who have been out of work for whatever reason.

“Many people in my constituency grow up aspiring to work at the airport and it is hugely positive to see schemes like this making that a reality for them.

“I wish all the graduates well with their careers and look forward to seeing the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme progress in the weeks and months ahead.”

Bryan Glass, Project Director from Laing O’Rourke said: “I congratulate the graduates on completing their course.

“The projects that we deliver have an impact on the local economy that goes beyond physical construction. By working with the Airport Academy, we are able to support local people back into work that lead to sustainable and fulfilling careers while also creating a pool of talent to complete the Transformation Programme.”

A dozen students started the inaugural three-week course, which covers a range of modules designed to help in the construction industry. These include: health and safety, team building, time management, manual handling, working at height and dust awareness to name a few.

The students are from all walks of life, aging from 18-50 and coming from places including Wythenshawe, Northenden, Cheadle and Baguley (see case studies below). A pre-requisite to take part includes passing literacy and numeracy at Entry Level Three. Plus, applicants need to be at least 18, in receipt of an active benefit e.g. Job Seekers Allowance and a resident in the EU for at least three years.

Those graduates successful in securing a role will be introduced to general construction, giving them a chance to better familiarise themselves with the opportunities available throughout the industry.

Minstrell Recruitment has been involved alongside the Airport Academy and Laing O’Rourke. Any graduates who are unsuccessful at interview stage with Laing O’Rourke will immediately be registered and offered temporary work with one of its ‘Recruitment Arm’ clients. They are able to provide an integrated service offer from screening, selection and training through to the placement of candidates onto other local construction/infrastructure projects.

Launched by The Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP work officially started this summer on Manchester Airport’s Transformation Programme (MANTP).

This project, the largest private investment in the region, will reinforce Manchester Airport’s standing as the UK’s global hub in the North of England, enabling better and more international connections and supporting economic growth across the North.

MANTP will provide millions of passengers and airlines with facilities that combine state of the art services with excellent customer service. With the new development complete, the airport will be able to grow alongside a thriving northern economy to handle 45 million passengers a year, an increase of almost 20 million compared to today.

The Airport Academy aims to help unemployed people to get jobs in the travel trade, with training provided by tutors from Stockport College designed around skills needed for roles within an airport environment. One of the first projects of its kind in the world, the initiative has helped 1,200 out-of-work people in Greater Manchester into employment since it was launched by Manchester Airport in 2012.

To take part in a future cohort, people should email the Airport Academy on


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