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Economic development at Heathrow

Heathrow’s community investment programme aims to support the economic prosperity of the communities surrounding the airport.

Heathrow’s community investment programme aims to support the economic prosperity of the communities surrounding the airport: Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Slough & Spelthorne.
Key objectives:

  1. Positively engage with local schools, colleges and universities.

  2. Raise awareness of high quality careers at Heathrow to young people, their parents and wider job seekers.

  3. Support skills development to reduce local unemployment.

  4. Help business grow.

Education Programmes

The Heathrow Primary School Challenge is a series of half day workshops delivered to Year 6 students (10-11 years old) in schools in the 5 boroughs around the airport. Working in groups of three, students use Scratch; a computer coding programme, to code a journey for their chosen cargo to get to the plane to their chosen destination. In 2017, over 3,000 children completed the Challenge from 52 primary schools. Are you a teacher at a local primary school that would like to take part? Please get in touch:

The Heathrow Secondary School Challenge is a series of half-day workshops delivered to Year 8 students (12-13 years old) in schools in the 5 boroughs around the airport. Working in small groups, students will build a ‘Pod’ - our Personal Rapid Transport system that provides transport between the car parks and Terminal 5. Students will use coding to programme their Pod to travel a certain route - finishing with an exciting race off with other teams. The challenge provides an enjoyable way for young people to explore their enterprise skills, develop social and personal skills, encourage team working, build communications skills. In 2017, over 2,800 local young people took part in the Challenge from 18 secondary schools. Are you a teacher at a local secondary school that would like to take part? Please get in touch:

Heathrow has established a governors programme to reduce the 30,000 governor vacancies in the UK and develop long-term links with our local education partners. Heathrow employees serve as governors in a number of primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in the local community. Our governors use their business skills in finance, HR, policy and leadership to support schools and ensure they are led effectively. If your school or college has governor vacancies, please get in touch:

Heathrow has established a guest lecturing programme to support our colleagues use their skills and knowledge to support local colleges and universities. Guest lecturing allows students to learn about the exciting projects and careers at the airport and helps equip them for the world of work. Do you work at a local educational institution that would like a guest lecture from someone at Heathrow? Please get in touch:

Employment Programmes

The Heathrow Jobs & Careers Fair launched in 2007 and demonstrates the vast array of careers available across the airport community. It is open to all secondary schools in our five priority boroughs, as well as individuals, parents and jobseekers.

Exhibitors in attendance include businesses that operate at the airport, local universities and colleges, and youth social action organisations. Are you a teacher at a local school that would like your students to visit the next Jobs & Careers Fair? Please visit our website:

Heathrow is a pioneer member of Step Up to Serve, a campaign that champions Youth Social Action (YSA) – which aims to get young people out volunteering for social good, having a positive impact on the community. This enables local young people to give back to the community and build the essential skills needed to be successful in the world of work.

We encourage volunteering organisations to exhibit at the Heathrow Jobs & Careers Fair. This demonstrates how volunteering experience is important to employers and can enhance a young person’s CV.

As one of nine Strategic Supporting Partners, we support the Duke of Edinburgh Awards internally and externally. We support our local communities to get involved with DofE through taster days at Heathrow.

We are sponsors of the Scouts’ Air Activities badge. In 2017, over 70,000 Air Activities badges were sold, giving young people basic skills in aviation. The Heathrow Community Fund has also supported Scouts groups with funding for activities. In addition, Heathrow colleagues are invited to volunteer with local Scouts groups.

Our support for business focuses on three main areas; Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), inward investment and exporting.

The key vehicle to support these objectives is the Heathrow Business Summits. Launching in 1996, the Heathrow Business Summits programme supports the growth of SMEs by connecting SMEs to each other, to the airport, and the world.

  • We connect SMEs to each other by providing networking opportunities at local workshops and through speed-networking on the day.
  • We connect SMEs to the airport by hosting an event which has representatives from over 50 of Heathrow’s supply chain companies and the Heathrow Procurement Team.
  • We connect SMEs to the world through our partnership with the Department for International Trade, and by providing information on our cargo operations
  • Through our sponsorship of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Apprenticeships, we are pleased to promote the SME Toolkit. The toolkit provides SMEs with practical advice and guidance on hiring apprentices, as well as case studies to show how apprenticeships helps businesses grow.

Heathrow business summit

In 2017 we welcomed 230 SMEs to the flagship Business Summit, along with 48 businesses from Heathrow’s supply chain. This created 1,700 appointments available between SMEs and buyers. To date, the Business Summits have generated an estimated £93.4 million of new deals.