Seeing potential in people at Heathrow – John Holland-Kaye


By Heathrow

Published 10th March 2017

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Here at Heathrow, we’re proud to be supporting the See Potential campaign as an inclusive employer that offers opportunities to people from disadvantaged groups. Our CEO, John Holland-Kaye explains below how we are aiming to continue to build diversity at Heathrow.

The following post has been written by Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye:

With over 76,000 people working across more than 400 businesses, Team Heathrow is representative of the UK’s broad and varied population. And in 2017, we’ll be celebrating our diversity as we continue to grow our workforce across aviation, logistics, retail, hospitality and construction.

The Heathrow Academy supports businesses operating at the airport to recruit and develop talent from our neighbouring communities, helping local people build careers here irrespective of their background.

In 2016, we helped place nearly 800 people in long-term employment, training hundreds more through bespoke development programmes and apprenticeships. In the last quarter of that year, we launched diversity and inclusion pilot projects to support and encourage airport employers to open their doors to a rich seam of talented local candidates with disabilities.

When it comes to recruitment, every employer has an ideal candidate. Usually it’s someone who is reliable, trustworthy, hard-working and committed. But these are qualities that many people from all walks of life possess. The Academy team works closely with local partners to find them and encourage them to join Team Heathrow.

“We all need to look at the person behind the piece of paper”

Seeing someone’s potential involves so much more than just looking at a CV – we all need to look at the person behind the piece of paper to understand the benefits they could bring to our business.

Scott Berry (right) pictured with Robert Halfon MP and fellow Heathrow apprenticeship success story Nyomi Gani.

The candidate with a disability might be judged incapable because they have ticked ‘that box’;  the candidate returning to work after raising a family might be judged unqualified because they’re out of practice.

The easy option is to recruit someone who doesn’t fall into these categories. But changing this mind-set means a lot more than people realise. It can literally be life changing – for the individual as well as for their employer.

Heathrow Academy is working hard to break down these barriers, raise awareness and train our colleagues to ensure everyone feels safe and supported in the workplace.

It’s important that our business partners feel supported too. And that they are aware of the benefits recruiting candidates from diverse backgrounds can bring. For example, there’s evidence to suggest that people from disadvantaged backgrounds who gain employment retain their jobs for much longer than average.

Upskilling candidates

The Academy team upskills candidates through accredited pre-employment programmes and mock interviews, ensuring they’re ready to start their career with Team Heathrow. Using specialist support from our partners we ensure we meet the needs of our candidates, whilst also training and supporting our employers to close the employment gap for disadvantaged jobseekers.

And we’ve already been successful, securing supported employment for 3 candidates from our disability pilot project. This spring, we’re hosting an employer training day to raise awareness of the project with the aim of increasing this number in 2017.

We’re not here to take the easy option. We’re here to source the best talent from within our local communities, supporting them to begin a successful career at Heathrow Airport no matter who they are.

– John Holland-Kaye, Heathrow CEO

If you’re a business looking to become more inclusive and tap into the talents of candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds, here’s a new official guide to help you. 


By Heathrow

Published 10th March 2017