School Arts and Education Projects

Supporting the Arts with East Midlands Airport

East midlands airport artwork

Here at East Midlands Airport we have a varied Education programme and are committed to inspiring the next generation of airport professionals. Please click on each of the items below to read more about some of the great work and events we have recently been involved in.

School Arts and Education Projects

Launched in 2016, ‘Art on the Pier’ is a project between local schools and our airport to create new pieces of artwork which are displayed along the Pier. This corridor connects our main airport terminal to some of our boarding gates and is used by tens of thousands of passengers every year.

Schools are invited to a workshop in our Aerozone education centre where the project is launched. Back in school, each student is given a ceramic tile to decorate in a theme that is decided between the school and the airport. Previous themes have included the history of East Midlands Airport, flight, destinations, flags and local landmarks. Once the tiles have been created, they are framed and installed along the Airport Pier.

We have enjoyed working with Kegworth Primary School, Gotham Primary School, Milford Academy in Clifton, Melbourne Junior School, and Aspire, Bluecoat Beechdale Academy. We are always looking for new schools to work with so if your school would like to get involved in this project, please contact us at

The latest school to get involved in the project was Aspire in Nottingham (part of the Archway Learning Trust).

The artwork was inspired by the students’ visit to the airport in January 2022 when they learned more about how aviation is embracing environmental sustainability and about some of the initiatives currently in place at EMA such as a passenger carbon offsetting scheme and a move towards the use of sustainable fuels.

The students were invited back to the airport on World Earth Day (April 2022) to see their work on display in the airport’s West Pier.

As part of the creative process, the students, supported by art teacher, Laura Austin, examined images of the airport and experimented with the colours of blue and green, which are associated with images of Earth from space, and shading to create detail and depth, giving a sense of tranquillity and the natural world.

The tiles were framed by East Midlands Airport employee Paul Trahar.

Jo Wood, EMA’s education coordinator, says: “It was a real pleasure to introduce the students to the airport and to receive their creative response to what they learned from the visit. We’re very proud of the artwork in our terminal which brightens it up and gives passengers something interesting to look at as they walk by on their way to catching a flight.”

East Midlands Airport is working with students from Castle Donington College on the Ambassador Programme. For 2022/23, the school selected 16, Year 10 students to work with the airport whilst also taking on extra responsibilities as leaders and representatives of the school. Some of these responsibilities include welcoming visitors to school at open events and hosting a wellbeing lunchtime session for Years 7 & 8 every week.

The students attend a series of visits to the airport over the course of the year, learning about what makes a good ambassador and how these skills are also relevant in the workplace. The students have met with our very own Customer Services team and visited the Air Traffic Control tower to learn about what goes on behind the scenes.

The Partnership Programme with Derby College has been running since 2017. We are now working with our sixth cohort.


We are currently working with Level 3, first and second year students studying Travel & Tourism, who study an additional module on Aviation.

The aim of the programme is to enhance the students’ understanding of the aviation industry and to give them a deeper insight into what it is like to work at an airport. The students get to interact with professionals from a broad range of airport departments to boost their learning and build connections. The programme provides them with relevant experiences and opportunities which are invaluable for advancing their career in aviation.


The programme is made up of 6 visits to the airport, spread throughout the academic year, where they cover a broad range of topics such as Security, Customer Services and Operations in the Terminal and on the Airfield. The students have been on a tour of the Air Traffic Control Tower and the Airport Fire Station and also have a session planned with Jet2 Ground Handling. The students also take part in mock interviews and customer service role plays at the Aerozone.


Each of the students on the programme is also currently offered a 2-day work experience placement at the airport.


Several students who have been through the programme in previous years have gone on to secure employment at the airport, either with MAG or with one of our onsite business partners.

In February 2023, the Aerozone welcomed it’s 30,000th student since it opened in 2010.


To mark the occasion, 28 Year 5 and 6 students from Dovecote Primary School in Clifton, Nottingham, attended a special celebration event at the Aerozone.


The Aerozone is East Midlands Airport’s bespoke on-site education facility which runs a programme of events through the year designed to inspire and enthuse young people about the airport, aviation and future careers within the sector. It provides an opportunity to find out first-hand what goes on behind the scenes.


The facility was established as part of the airport’s wider commitment to supporting the local community. With its versatile classroom, interactive learning resources and proximity to the airport terminal, young people who attend the courses are immersed in a full airport experience. A recent addition includes a portable air traffic control simulator which gives users a virtual experience of what’s involved in being an air traffic controller.


For the youngest children, there is also East Minilands, a fun and interactive roleplay area where children can dress up in uniform and have a go at being security officers or check-in staff. The space includes a check-in desk, security search area, café, shop and mock aeroplane cabin, complete with ten aircraft seats.


Joanna Wood, East Midlands Airport’s Education Manager, said: “Airports are fascinating and diverse businesses and everyone who visits gets a real buzz of excitement. Our role is to introduce as many young people as possible to this sector in the hope that some may consider a career in aviation later in life. We’re delighted to have welcomed 30,000 young people through our Aerozone in the years since it was first opened. It is an important part of our wider engagement with the local community and we know that it’s positively received.”

To find out more about booking a visit to the Aerozone, please click here.

In October 2022, we invited children in KS2 and KS3 from local primary and secondary schools to submit stories and poems for a competition with the chance for their work to be published in a brand-new book, titled ‘The Little Book of Travel Tales’. The work was created around the themes of travel, flight, airports and aircraft, holidays abroad and working at an airport. The book also includes a range of fun puzzles and activities aimed at school children.


The airport received 76 entries from 12 schools. The final edition of the book included stories, poems and drawings by children from the following schools:

• Asterdale Primary School

• Chellaston Academy

• English Martyrs Catholic Voluntary Academy, Long Eaton

• Fairfield Spencer Academy

• Landau Forte College, Derby

• Newcroft Primary Academy

• Shardlow Primary School


The authors whose stories made the final edition were informed on World Book Day 2023 and received £50 book vouchers for their school libraries.


On 5th April some of the winning children visited the airport and handed out copies of the books to passengers flying away for the Easter holidays.


The book is free to passengers to pick up in the Airport Terminal.


East Midlands Airport’s Head of Education, Skills and Employment, Marcella M’Rabety, said: “We were blown away by the quality and variety of entries we received for the ‘Little Book of Travel Tales’ and are very grateful to participating schools and their pupils.”


“Literacy is a vital skill and we’re delighted to have played a role in encouraging children to discover the joy of reading and writing. Through our education programme, we were able to tap into youngsters’ enthusiasm for travel and adventure. I know the pupils involved all had a great deal of fun writing the stories and poems, and I hope our passengers get just as much enjoyment from reading them.”

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