#IVD2021: JET volunteers bring a world of difference and support for our students

#IVD2021: JET volunteers bring a world of difference and support for our students

Over the past decade, volunteers from our national network of corporate and military partners have stepped forward to support the work of the Jon Egging Trust.   

Whether working to help mastermind one of our annual fundraising events like JETRide, or supporting our in-school sessions, JET volunteers have the power to make a world of difference to the young people we work with.      

JET’s volunteers are drawn from both our corporate and military partners as well as other business organisations across the UK. Each volunteer has a unique and valuable contribution to make by virtue of their own specialist talents, skills, expertise, and life or educational achievement.   

International Volunteer Day 2021  (#IVD2021) is marked every year on the 5th of December. It is the perfect time to celebrate the efforts of our volunteers and to applaud the fact that by volunteering they help to make the world a better place, improve the lives of others and engender a sense of belonging and community.     

To mark IVD2021 this year, JET took some time to chat with two of our volunteers who work in the exciting world of communications with one of our long-term corporate partners QinetiQ.    

Both Matt and Chris regularly take time out of their work schedules to visit students at schools in the Wiltshire area. They work alongside our local JET Youth Liaison Officer Kaye Jackson, who has been as a key member of JET’s team in the south-west since 2015.    

Kaye said: “The positive impact and lasting difference our volunteers make to the lives and future employability prospects to the students on our Inspirational Outreach and Blue Skies programmes is something that goes to the heart of what JET is all about.   

 “I am exceptionally proud that through our volunteers we provide young people with fantastic opportunities to meet and work with talented people like Matt and Chris.  The career and job perspectives that a volunteer from an innovative organisation like QinetiQ can provide for our JET students is invaluable.”       

Here’s what Matt and Chris had to say about volunteering…         

Matthew Titman – Aerospace Engineer, QinetiQ 

Q: What is your role at QinetiQ and what does it involve?  

A: I am an Aerospace Engineer working within aircraft operations at QinetiQ. Day to day, I am involved in safe delivery of Test Pilot Training with the Empire Test Pilot School at MOD Boscombe Down, the integration of equipment and modification of aircraft, overseeing the aviation management system for the safe operation of the aircraft fleet, and contributing to the strategic direction of the flying organisation.   

Q: How did you get involved with the JET volunteering activity and what do you do?  

I have always participated in STEM outreach, and I came across JET through the STEM Ambassador network. I have been involved with JET for three years, delivering sessions in schools with their Blue Skies outreach programme. I particularly enjoy delivering sessions on communication: the session starts with an interactive discussion about ways and means of communication, particularly the difference between analogue and digital communication, and then goes on to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of the different modes of communication in a group construction challenge.  

Q: What do you like most about volunteering for JET?   

I like that the Blue Skies programme focuses on the foundation of character/skills that are required for success in any field. It is enjoyable watching the young people develop their sense of self-awareness as they realise that by observing how they think, react and behave, they have the tools to observe themselves and their environment and make efforts to change.  

Q:Why do you think volunteering is an important part of the work environment?     

Easy – it’s great fun! More seriously, volunteering is about keeping an open mind. It helps you step back, and as you encourage and engage with young people it provides the space for self-reflection: am I continuing to grow and be challenged? Are my priorities in the right places? Do I embody what I am trying to convey? Do I care enough for those around me to want to try and be the difference?   

Chris Blakeborough – Avionic and Electrical Design Engineer, QinetiQ  

Q: What is your role at QinetiQ and what does it involve?  

I am an Avionic and Electrical Design Engineer working within the Aviation Engineering Centre. My primary role is to design avionic and electrical designs that meet our customers’ needs to support Test and Evaluation activities. I am also the STEM outreach lead for MOD Boscombe Down.  

Q: How did you get involved with the JET volunteering activity and what do you do?   

My first experience with JET was back in 2014 where we invited their Blue Skies cohort of students to visit us and perform a robotics challenge to put into practice what they have learned about the benefits of teamwork. Recently, I have been continuing with assisting JET outreach sessions about teamwork and leadership skills.  

Q: What do you like most about volunteering for JET?   

The thing I like the most about volunteering with JET is seeing the students visibly increasing in confidence during the programme and then demonstrating skills they have learned and going on to be active members of their local communities.  

Q: Why do you think volunteering is an important part of the work environment?     

It’s so important for young people to have access to meaningful opportunities with employers from a young age and to be aware of the wide range of rewarding career paths available to them. As a volunteer, it’s fantastic to see their eyes light up when they achieve something and put into practice what they have learned. That light can then go on to feed future engineers and scientists or give a greater insight into the world of work and help them understand what they need to do to achieve their career goals. It is brilliant that QinetiQ provides employees time to volunteer and helps to provide these opportunities together with JET.  

Volunteers working with young people in school

Volunteers from QinetiQ and the world of aviation and avionics are making a big difference to year 8 pupils at a JET partner school in Wiltshire.

A volunteer working with a group of young people in a school classroom

During the Autumn term, year 8 students were able to benefit from working alongside aviation and avionics expert volunteers from our corporate partner QinetiQ.