Engineering & Aerospace News

Paralympic gold medallist inspires aviation pupils in Bristol

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Written by: Hannah Baker | Posted 13 July 2018 15:00

Paralympic gold medallist inspires aviation pupils in Bristol

Paralympic champion Andy Lewis was the guest of honour at a graduation ceremony for Bristol school pupils taking part in an Airbus learning progamme.

The children, from Bristol Metropolitan Academy in Fishponds, graduated from the Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge course - a year-long programme for 13 and 14-year-olds to learn about careers in aviation.

Andy, who won gold in the men’s PT2 para-triathlon in Rio two years ago, was forced to have his right leg amputated at the knee when he was 22 years old following a motorbike accident.

He is currently on sabbatical from Airbus to allow him to train full time - and he spoke to the students about their goals and aspirations at the ceremony.

Andy said: “Winning the Paralympic triathlon in Rio was a very proud moment for me and helped me understand my full potential, not just in sport but in life generally.

“It certainly raised my profile in the sport and made me realise how much I enjoy motivating others, especially children.

Read more:Bristol University students tackle global challenges at Airbus summer academy


"I’ve started a business where I now mentor children all across the UK, whether at home, school or the gym.

"It’s really important to me, which is why I was delighted to be invited by Airbus to the Flying Challenge graduation ceremony and speak to the pupils about their goals and aspirations.”

Throughout the year, the students have worked with Airbus employee mentors, and gained first-hand experience in the aerospace industry.

Last month they each took to the skies for a flying lesson where they were handed the controls of a Piper Cherokee light aircraft.

The cohort also achieved a nationally recognised qualification for their efforts, which they received at the graduation ceremony.

Hannah Hammond, community relations manager at Airbus in Filton, said: “We are so proud to see how much the students have developed during the programme.

"They have grown in confidence and belief in themselves and gained valuable workplace skills.”

The ceremony also welcomed the school’s next cohort of Flying Challenge students, who have been specially selected to work alongside Airbus mentors and develop their learning of the industry.

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