Local and regional public authorities, airports, employment and development agencies teamed up to exchange best practices on vocational education and training (VET) in airport areas. By focusing on regional branding, job attractivity, skills definition and mobility, the DREAAM (Development of Regional Employment and Airport Areas Manpower) project aims to facilitate the recruitment process for regions and airport platforms and to create more training and employment opportunities for the surrounding local communities.
Airport areas deal with recruitment issues. Both territories with a high unemployment rate or a very low unemployment rate are confronted with this issue. There are different causes to this increasing problem. This project wants to explore the different tools used by the airport areas in Europe in order to help the airport areas’ companies to find the skills they need.
The project, financially supported by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union, kicked off in October 2018 in Paris. It comes as an attempt to address the difficulties European airports and public authorities have in attracting professionals interested to work and live in airport areas. For instance, one of the project partners, FrankfurtRheinMain Regional Authority, is focusing on marketing the area and creating advisory services in order to attract international professionals.
When considering region attractivity and employee retention, the mobility options to access the workplace must also be taken into account. Airport access is key to recruiting young professionals that live in the surroundings. From the point of view of the Regional Council of Paris Region, better access to the workplace, especially when that workplace is an airport, has the potential to attract more employees, as it makes it convenient for them in terms of time and resources.
Another aspect tackled by the DREAAM project is related to the requirements of employers, as there is not a common understanding regarding the skills that an employee should have to be qualified to work at an airport or the associated services (catering, hospitality, etc.). When it comes down to skills, the lead partner of DREAAM project, GIP Emploi, specifically points out that there is not a clear definition of soft skills, another issue that this project will tackle.
It is also important to learn how to communicate about the jobs available in airport areas. At Paris Orly Airport, the maintenance department is understaffed. On average, the department is short of 60 people per day. Hence, this project intends to enrich the information available and to strengthen the communication about the fields of work at an airport platform.
The kick-off meeting included several study visits that allowed partners to collect practical information about both the challenges encountered in the region of Paris and the best practices used to tackle them.
During its two years of activity, DREAAM is planning to develop the skills of the population residing in airport areas so that they meet the criteria of the employers. The Airport Regions Conference is the DREAAM communication partner, being in charge of the project communication and aiming to foster a constructive exchange for employment best practices.