AN OLYMPIC hero has helped to launch a programme designed to give youth mentors a lift.

Airbus Foundation has launched the first Flying Challenge programme in Wales at Ysgol Treffynnon in Holywell.

A total of 20 specially selected young people will take part in the one year programme, working with Airbus mentors, as well as developing workplace skills and a love of learning.

If they prove their worth over the year, they will get to fly in a small aircraft at the end of the project as a reward.

Launching the event was three-time Olympic medallist Kriss Akabusi, who is on the Airbus Foundation board.

The Flying Challenge programme, which is the Airbus Foundation’s largest youth mentoring programme, will include 20 weekly sessions at Airbus where they will get behind the scenes access to aviation design programmes and facilities on the Broughton site.

>Through this, pupils will learn about careers in aviation, develop new skills, and gain practical experience.

The programme will also involve a four-day ‘Aim High’ scholarship run by leading aviation charity fly2help.

By the time they graduate from the Flying Challenge, participants will have undertaken a wide range of aerospace experiences, worked with employee mentors, completed a skills portfolio and worked towards a nationally recognised qualification.

Airbus community relations manager Phil McGraa said: “This cohort of students will be the first in Wales to embark on the journey.

“We at Airbus are proud to be a part of these students’ lives, and look forward to seeing their talents develop over the coming year.”

John Weir, headteacher at Ysgol Treffynnon, said: “This has been a truly inspiring day for staff and students alike.

“Our students are really excited and looking forward to beginning their Flying Challenge journey.”