Young Aviation Network bridges gap between young graduates and aviation industry

Ready for take-off

Opening up the closed world of aviation to young graduates – that’s the aim of the Young Aviation Network (YAN). On 24 April YAN organised its kick-off event at Brussels Airport, attended by representatives from both our corporate partner Brussels Airlines and Brussels Airport Company. The prime movers were two enterprising Masters students, Agnör Vijncke and Bob van der Vleuten. YAN is ready for take-off.

Agnör, can you briefly explain what the Young Aviation Network is?

Agnör Vijncke: “The Young Aviation Network, or YAN for short, is a network in Belgium for young graduates with a professional interest in the aviation industry. YAN tries to bridge the gap between, on the one hand, young graduates who have a passion for aviation and are seeking opportunities in the industry and, on the other, aviation companies that are looking for interested young talent.”

Why is there a need for this kind of network?

Agnör: “The aviation industry demands highly motivated and flexible personnel. We hear the same thing over and over again from HR managers: people who don’t have a keen interest in aviation don’t usually last long in the industry. It’s also a niche industry that’s not readily accessible to outsiders. I noticed that myself, so I decided to do something about the problem to help people who have the same ambitions as I do.”

And how are you planning to bridge that gap in practice?

Agnör: “By organising more events like this one. Company presentations and site visits provide opportunities for people to meet and network. We invite interesting speakers with experience in the aviation industry, representing a company, an institute, a business school or simply themselves. There’s a clear focus on the corporate world, however. Looking ahead, we’re also planning to organise debates and possibly also a job fair if it proves feasible. Vlerick Business School supports our efforts by offering us a venue for events in the brand-new Brussels campus.”

What has been the response of young graduates, i.e. your target group?

Agnör: “Very enthusiastic. Our kick-off event took place at Brussels Airport. For practical reasons, we could only accommodate 30 attendees, but the event was fully subscribed in just three hours. We’ve noticed that there’s a lot of interest among Belgian students.”

Quite an enterprising initiative!

Agnör: “The importance of networking is also something that Vlerick champions. The School and the alumni association supported us right from the word go. In the corporate world, too, the list of companies keen to get involved in our events is growing at an impressive rate. And I only got started at the end of last year!”