London’s Heathrow Airport saw 5,800 young people attend the airport’s Jobs and Careers fair in 2014, the largest number of attendees since the fair was launched seven years ago.

The fair, which is held every February, brings together 16-24 year olds from communities surrounding the airport and links them with the companies working there. In 2014, 47 companies attended to explain what career opportunities were on offer. Parents and teachers also came to the fair to gain an understanding of what prospective employers expected in candidates, and were given information on CV advice, interviews and career guidance.

As one of the largest single-site employers in the country, with 76,500 people directly employed on the Heathrow site, the airport offers a wide range of jobs, training and career opportunities. A total of 114,000 jobs are supported in the local area by the operation of Heathrow Airport – representing one in five jobs (or 22% of the total) in the local area.

The business community surrounding the airport includes firms involved in construction, engineering, retail, logistics, communication, planning, security and technology. There are 323 separate businesses working within the perimeter fence at Heathrow.

The airport also plays an active role in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in surrounding areas. At its annual Business Summit, the airport provides an opportunity for ‘speed dating’ between procurement executives of the airport and large on-airport businesses and local SMEs that could provide services.