British Airways is recruiting 2,000 cabin crew this year and many of them will be joining the airline’s new apprenticeship scheme – the first group of these apprentices have just graduated from an initial five-week training course and have started flying for the Heathrow-based carrier. One of those apprentices is 46-year old Dallas Chapman who is actually following in the footsteps of her daughter Molly who already flies for British Airways.
Dallas says she had always wanted to be cabin crew but it took a little convincing from her daughter before she finally picked up enough courage to submit an application. One of Dallas’ biggest worries was that she was too old for the job – a concern that she really shouldn’t have had.
“Molly convinced me to apply,” the former Social Worker explained. “She said ‘Mum, there are so many more mature people becoming cabin crew now’. I feel so proud every time I put on the uniform.”
“It sounds like a cliché but I’ve always wanted to be cabin crew. I have four children, so I’ve always had to be near home, but now is my time.”
And Dallas will be in good company – British Airways already has quite a few mothers and daughter/son cabin crew duos. In fact, to celebrate Mother’s Day (which in the UK is observed on 31st March), the airline staffed an entire flight to Abu Dhabi with mother’s and their offspring – many of whom actually followed in the footsteps of their children.
The overriding theme on that occasion was again that age is just a number.
“I’m so proud of my mum. She has always wanted to be cabin crew and she is proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams,” Molly said of this achievement. In the next few weeks, Molly and her mother will even be working a flight to Buenos Aires together.
The British Airways apprenticeship scheme sees new cabin crew completing an intensive initial training course at the airline’s headquarters in West London before completing a 12-month programme of on the job learning. A specially developed mobile app will help apprentices track their progress and along the way, they’ll also gain qualifications English, Maths and Digital skills.
But while the programme will culminate in the apprentices attaining an industry-recognised Level 3 Cabin Crew Apprenticeship, there has been some criticism of BA’s motives behind the scheme.
It’s understood that the British government actually provides financial incentives to operate apprenticeship schemes so BA could actually reduce its overall training bill by offering this new qualification. Virgin Atlantic has also introduced a similar apprenticeship scheme but other UK-based airlines have told us they have plans to follow suit at the moment. The scheme will at least provide new cabin crew with life long skills.
And don’t be thinking that British Airways is the only airline to be encouraging family relationships at work. It’s surprisingly common and only last week German carrier Eurowings ran its own story about a mother and daughter cabin crew team – yet again, age was a concern but not a barrier for achieving her dream.