Uxbridge College Students Meet High-Flyers at Brit
Uxbridge College student Danielle Nailah Gayle with BA's Chief Executive Willie Walsh

Students from Uxbridge College and schools all over west London met high-flyers including the Chief Executive of BA Willie Walsh and sports presenter Gabby Logan.

Also on a panel speaking about their careers and taking questions were the CEO of airport operator BAA Colin Matthews and Hillingdon Council's chief Hugh Dunnachie.

The event, held at British Airways' headquarters in Harmondsworth, was part of Business in the Community's Give and Gain day. Hundreds of students attended.

Those quizzing the panel included two from Uxbridge College - Danielle Nailah Gayle (18), who is taking the Advanced Diploma in Engineering, and Amy McBrayne (17), who is completing a BTEC National Diploma in Travel and Tourism.

Danielle asked how Mr Walsh would keep the airline flying in the event of further strikes at BA, and wanted to know what characteristics he looked for in staff.

He said most people at BA were committed to keeping the airline flying, and that staff not normally working as cabin crew were being trained for the job to cover absences.

He said people working for BA needed to provide great customer service, be flexible, and work well in a team.

Amy asked what career advice Mr Walsh would give his 16-year-old self. His tips included keeping an open mind, creating as many opportunities for yourself as possible, getting involved in activities you enjoy - and even some you don't.

He said: "If I'd decided what to do at 16, I wouldn't be sitting here today as CEO of BA."

Lorraine Collins, Executive Director - Enterprise and Development at Uxbridge College, said: "This event with high-flyers including Willie Walsh, Gabby Logan, Colin Matthews and Hugh Dunnachie gave students a terrific opportunity to hone their competitive edge. Many Uxbridge College students already go on to work for blue chip companies such as British Airways, but an event like this raises everyone's aspirations and gives them a unique experience. They really made the most of it - and I was very impressed to hear that Danielle challenged Willie Walsh on the best way to handle a strike!"

Hillingdon Chief Executive Hugh Dunnachie, said: "It was great to talk with these teenagers, they were a very bright bunch and asked some pretty tough questions. I hope they got as much out of the afternoon as we did, and I wish them all the very best in their future careers."

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