With unemployment across the UK easing, Shoreham-based pilot James Piper says that now’s the time for young people to follow their vision and make their dream career a reality.
Figures release from the Office of National Statistics last month (December 13, 2013) show the number of unemployed 16-24-year-olds in Adur held at a steady 4.4% (-0.8% change from November 2011). Nationwide, the picture for young people is also looking rosier with the number of unemployed down 72,000 on the last quarter and with a decrease of 80,000 year-on-year.
James, a former pupil at Oakmeeds Community College, had always dreamed of being a pilot and is now helping other young people reach their potential as an advanced flight instructor at Flying Time Aviation based at Shoreham (Brighton City) Airport.
As well as instructing, James also helps inform young people about career choices in aviation and gave two presentations on becoming a pilot at Virgin Atlantic’s Future Flyers and Fixers event in Crawley in November which was attended by more than 700 youngsters aged 13-25.
James, 24, always wanted to become a pilot but didn’t attend university. Instead, he attended Flying Time Aviation to become a Commercial Pilot – the minimum qualification that a European Airline would require from prospective pilots. Flying Time Aviation is the only centre in the south east which offers the integrated Flight Deck programme, a full time one year intensive course that leads to a Commercial Pilot Licence.
“I’ve realised my lifelong ambition. To be up in the air flying four to five times a day makes for a really rewarding career,” said James.
He first got the flying bug when he flew in a jumbo jet for the first time at the age of eight and when he was older, received a Red Letter Day flying experience as a gift at Shoreham Airport. James explained: “I knew there were different routes to becoming a pilot, but didn’t think I could afford to train to become one. The structure of the programme at Flying Time allowed me to train alongside a job working on refurbishments to the London Underground which helped pay my tuition fees. I worked during the day and studied at night to gain my Private Pilot’s licence and was able to borrow money from various relatives to complete my Commercial Pilot Licence training.”
He added: “When I started out learning to fly, my ambition had been to become an airline pilot but I was offered a job as a flight instructor before I finished the course. I’ve been teaching people to fly for two-and-a-half years now and it’s great fun. My favourite part of the job is watching student’s faces when I tell them they are going to fly solo for the first time. Some are excited and some have a look of shock. After 15 hours flight training, they to have to take off, circle and land after a five minute flight.”