Crushing Perceptions Of Working In The Aviation Industry


The typical perception of someone who works in logistics within the aviation industry might be that of a middle-aged man with decades of experience under his belt. Surprisingly for some, this isn’t the case, as aviation is one of the most innovative and diverse industries in the world; not only in a technological sense, but also for recruitment and professional development. There are no entry barriers or glass ceilings in aviation; dedication and passion are the two most important things you need. So, regardless of background, age, or gender, there’s always a gateway to a promising career.

At Mixed Freight Services, we pride ourselves on providing opportunities for everyone, and we know that potential exists far beyond the middle-aged man with the world of experience. Through our work conducting apprenticeships, we’ve been able to provide people of all backgrounds with the foundations for a secure career within aviation.

‘A lot of people think the industry is a middle-aged thing but young people bring energy. We bring things like computer skills that the older generations might not be so adept in.’

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We’ve worked with Heathrow Employment & Skills Academy on apprenticeships for seven years, the first of our apprentices being Tyler, who’s been with us since he was sixteen.

Tyler (pictured on the left) started out in the warehouse, but two weeks in and it became apparent that he had more potential.

‘You need a lot of initiative to find quick solutions to obstacles. Sometimes things will go wrong with vehicles, sometimes there are language barriers with customers […] but you need to stay patient and have a lot of on-your-feet thinking.’

Ja also joined us after leaving school at 16, and sought a role that gave him a sense of fulfilment; he found that by joining Mixed Freight as a Warehouse Operative and Cargo Security Screener.

Obtaining clearance and training is crucial prior to working within an industry that’s extremely security focused. Security screening requires an active, attentive mind with a keen eye; operators must be able to spot any potential threat, which is exactly where a young, alert mind can be invaluable.

‘I always go into work thinking about what might have been left over from the night before, so I always come up with ways we can get ahead of things and improve ourselves at the same time.’

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We strive to help strengthen these skills for all employees; our warehouse operatives undertake monthly training and yearly relicensing to ensure they’re fresh and up-to-scratch. Using individual and team efforts, our screening operatives work together to support each other in the screening processes, working as efficiently as possible.
Ja is adamant that positivity and a desire to learn is key to overcoming any challenges - ‘I can do it; I just can’t do it yet.’ It’s no surprise that his proactive mindset works, as it led him to win recognition for Overcoming Challenges at the 2018 Heathrow Academy Awards.

Luke, who joined us as a Warehouse Operative and has climbed his way up to Security Advisor, is another great example of the collaboration with Heathrow, where he was nominated for the 2017 Apprenticeship Awards, and had the honour of sitting at the head table with John Holland-Kaye, CEO at Heathrow Airport, and The Rt Hon. Lord Blunkett.
‘The apprenticeship massively directed me into a work lifestyle,’ he says. ‘Working more towards what I’m doing now has opened up my eyes to many paths in aviation… to know the potential is there and what I can do excites me and makes me more interested everyday.’

‘I wanted to work within Heathrow, because I wanted a job in logistics and thought Heathrow is the place to be … The interview process with Mixed Freight was smooth and laid back, and seeing what it was like here made me feel so much more comfortable.’

At Mixed Freight, we know there’s much more to success than age. As with any industry (... or life in general), young people are the future, despite the sentiment shared amongst far too many that inexperience means incapability. Jasmeet joined us last year after finishing her A Levels and is currently undergoing her marketing apprenticeship. She’s seen this industry-wide misconception that was quelled when she came to Mixed Freight. ‘There are a lot of young people in this company,’ she says, ‘but we do need more in the industry; we’re so willing to learn.’

It’s possible that younger people are reluctant to join an industry where misconceptions are pushing them away. Angela wanted a job in logistics and had her eye on Heathrow; she joined us at eighteen and believes others should just ‘go for it’ the way she did. ‘I think there’s still an age division in the industry in general, but there are a lot of young people at Mixed Freight.’ Younger generations can bring fresh ideas, using up-to-date knowledge about technology that generations before them might not be aware of; this is exactly what a dynamic industry like aviation needs. ‘It’s a combination of the experience of the older generation and the new ideas that we can bring to the table.’

‘You need a lot of commitment to work in this industry… it can be full on, and it can be tough; but it is very rewarding.’

It’s very apparent to us at Mixed Freight that we need to squash the misconceptions that aviation has no room for the vibrant energy of younger minds. On the contrary, we want to see more young people bringing their fresh ideas to the industry, the same way we’ve seen in our own employees. If you’re a determined go-getter who wants to be part of change and innovation in aviation, you should be heading over to our careers page right now!